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J. A. DEMBO, M.D. 












BERLIN, May 25, 1894. 
To DR. DEMBO, Berlin. 

I have followed with keen interest the progress of your diligent 
and painstaking investigations, and on the occasion of the com- 
pletion of the book in which you bring them under the notice of 
the public I have much pleasure in expressing to you my sincere 
appreciation of them. 

You have approached the vexed question from a new side by 
submitting to a direct examination the quality of meat from 
animals killed by the method ordained by the Jewish law. Let 
us hope that the practical conclusions which the legislators of our 
time will draw from your researches will at last bring comfort and 
peace to distressed minds. 

I have no objection to your publishing these lines. 

The Director of the Royal Pathological Institute, 


To DR. DEMBO, at present in Berlin. 

DEAR SIR, I have read the book, the proof-sheets of which 
you sent me, with keen interest, and I am happy to say that I am 
in perfect agreement with you on the main points of the slaughter- 
ing question. 

As I have declared in a report based on observations and experi- 
ments in the laboratory and in the slaughter-house, the method of 
shcclieta which is practised by the Jews with remarkable success is 
superior to all other methods of killing, because it is the safest and 
most expeditious, because the animals killed by it are subjected to 
the least amount of pain, and because by it the removal of the 
blood is effected in the most complete manner. 

Inasmuch as you have, not only by means of your own extensive 
investigations, pursued during several years, arrived at just the 
same results, but have also, by careful experiments, established a 
fact of such practical importance as that the meat of animals 
slaughtered in the Jewish manner is hygienically superior to all 
other meat, you have rendered undeniable services to the cause, 
and I heartily congratulate you thereon. 

I am too little acquainted with the history of the Jews and with 
the Jewish Ritual Law to understand why they have for centuries 
adhered to the latter with astonishing pertinacity ; but that this 
consistency is well justified from the standpoint of physiology, that 
it much better answers the humane purpose of the protection of 
animals than the uncertain methods of the Christian butchers, and 

that it is better calculated to further the wellbeing of the nation 
than the other this you have proved and established. 

If you think that this recognition of your profound and laborious 
work will serve as a recommendation of it and will help to in- 
troduce the book, the first part of which at least is within the 
comprehension of everybody, to a wider circle of readers, I have 
no objection whatever to its being published. Yours faithfully, 


University of Berlin. 
WIESBADEN, Jan. 20, 1894. 



PREFACE . . . . xiii 




















































FOUR years ago I was invited, by the Standing Central Committee 
of the Russian Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 
to prepare a report on the different methods of slaughtering for 
the Congress of the said Societies, which was held at St. Petersburg 
on January 21, 1891. In compliance with this request, I read a 
paper before the Congress, and as a consequence of it, as well as 
of the papers of some other gentlemen, which did not point to 
the same conclusions, the Congress decided to appoint a Special 
Commission for the purpose " of deciding on the best method of 
slaughtering." The Commission, which included several professors 
of physiology and veterinary science, as well as myself, began the 
investigation in October 1892, and during four months of 
assiduous labour studied the matter theoretically and practically 
in the public slaughter-house of St. Petersburg, examined it in 
all its bearings, and in particular made the Jewish method the 
subject of most careful and detailed investigation. Now, although 
the work of the Committee had thus been soon brought to a con- 
clusion, the matter seemed to me to be of such importance and 
gravity that I felt prompted to pursue my investigations still 
further and even to undertake a journey abroad for the purpose 
of studying the methods used in the slaughter-houses of England, 
France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and other countries. 

I propose to give a full account of the observations made during 
four years in a vast number of slaughter-houses, and my experi- 
ence there and in the laboratory, as well as an historical survey of 
the question of slaughtering since the middle of the present century, 
in a more complete work shortly to be published. But in view of 
the noisy agitation set on foot by almost all Societies for the Pre- 
vention of Cruelty to Animals in Germany, Switzerland, and other 



countries, an agitation which does not shrink even from so prepos- 
terous a demand as the total suppression by law of the Jewish 
method of slaughter, I deemed it necessary to publish at once the 
chief points of iny investigations in a concise form, in order to 
enable every educated layman to judge for himself which method 
of slaughter deserves to be regarded as the best. Those readers who 
are interested rather in the scientific aspect of the question, I must 
refer to two papers of mine, dealing especially with the neck-stab, 
read before the Medical Society of St. Petersburg on the 1st and 
the 15th of December, 1892, on "The Anatomical and Physio- 
logical Data of the Different Methods of Slaughtering." 

Thus, although the present publication does not attempt to deal 
with the matter in any exhaustive way, yet I thought its immediate 
appearance of great importance, with the view that every impartial 
reader might be able to convince himself how far the efforts of the 
so-called protectors of animals are likely to bring about a change 
for the better in the lot of the animals. 



AT first sight it would seem to be easy enough to decide which 
method of slaughter should be preferred, but in my opinion it is 
not at all so trifling a task. It is not every one who is qualified 
to decide as to the superiority of one or the other method, though, 
unfortunately, it has lately become quite a customary thing to do 
so. For this purpose there is, first of all, required a thorough 
knowledge of veterinary science and physiology ; and, secondly, a 
wide acquaintance with the facts of surgery and medicine, coupled 
with a practical experience that is to be gained only within the 
walls of the slaughter-house. Thus it happens even with eminent 
physiologists, notwithstanding their thorough acquaintance with 
the matter, that, though generally agreed as to the main facts of 
the Jewish method, and the great part which the circulation of 
the blood plays in it, they nevertheless commit themselves now 
and then to false opinions they could certainly have avoided by a 
careful and practical research in the slaughter-house. 

As to the veterinary surgeons and the chief managers of 
slaughter-houses, I must say that, on the one hand, their time is too 
much taken up with the performance of their duties to allow them 
to spend several hours in watching carefully all the symptoms 
which follow a certain method of killing ; while, on the other hand, 
many of them have not a sufficient knowledge of physiology, 
surgery, &c., to guide them to a right interpretation of the pheno- 
mena seen. 

As an excuse for the veterinary surgeon, it must of course be 
remembered that neither physiology nor veterinary pathology is, 
properly speaking, concerned with the question of slaughtering. 


The reason of this is very clear. Physiology has for its object the 
investigation and explanation of the vital phenomena in the 
organism, when normal and perfectly healthy ; whereas pathology 
considers only the morbid changes that take place therein. Now, 
from the moment the deadly blow has been struck on the head of 
the animal, or the bloodvessels of its neck have been severed, it is 
obvious that physiology has nothing more to do with that organism ; 
nor does pathology concern itself about its treatment since death 
must ensue within a few minutes. Does it not indeed appear to a 
superficial observer to be entirely needless to waste time and money, 
and to take pains to study the vital symptoms of an organism, 
which after two to five minutes will all the same be merely a life- 
less mass of meat ? This is the only explanation of the fact that 
even great authorities in veterinary science were at a loss to state 
with certainty which part of the brain was penetrated by the usual 
stab in the neck. It is obvious that the opinions of that method 
\^ere of necessity erroneous. 

During the last few months I spent for the sake of investigation 
in all the chief slaughter-houses of Europe, I repeatedly called the 
attention of the veterinary surgeons to many facts and symptoms 
connected with the different methods of slaughter, so that they 
themselves expressed their astonishment at not having noticed 
them before during a practice of many years. 

And as for myself, I may add that although I have particularly 
studied and investigated this question during four years in every 
variety of slaughter-house, as well as in the laboratory ; although 
during four months I have, in common with the members of the 
above-mentioned Commission for Selecting the Best Method of 
Slaughtering, discussed the question in all its aspects; and 
although I have witnessed the killing of nearly 4000 animals, yet 
I may say that at almost every further visit paid to a slaughter- 
house, I discovered some new point or aspect in the question. 
Therefore I thought it necessary to embody in the following pages 
the results of my numerous investigations, placing them under 
three distinct heads viz., Humanity, Hygiene, and Economy. 


On examining the present question from a general point of 
view the methods of slaughtering lend themselves for division into 
two classes only : 

1. The direct bleeding by severing the carotids and the 
other bloodvessels of the neck (the so-called Jewish method) ; 

2. The preliminary stunning of the animal required by the 
Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, for the 
purpose of sparing the animal the alleged pains from cutting 
the throat. To stun, or render the animal insensible, different 
means are employed : in one slaughter-house an iron hammer 
is used to strike the animal's head ; in others a mask with an 
iron bolt is put on the animal's head, and the bolt driven 
into the brain through the forehead, or the shooting-mask of 
Sigmund is applied and the brain of the animal destroyed 
by bullets, &c. 

In order to decide which of these two classes deserves to be 
preferred from a humanitarian point of view, every one possessed 
of a logical mind will first of all put to himself the following two 
questions : 

a. How soon on an average does the animal become un- 
conscious after both carotids and the other bloodvessels of 
the neck have been divided simultaneously ? 

I. How soon does unconsciousness supervene in cases in 
which stunning methods are used ? 

I say on an average, because single and exceptional cases 
cannot be taken into account in the decision of such a question. 
Likewise, what I look upon here as of crucial importance is not 


the moment of death, but the moment of loss of consciousness : 
only the latter can be of interest and value to the humanitarian, 
as with the loss of consciousness the animal no longer feels any 
pain. And besides, how are we to tell physiologically the exact 
time of death, since we have no criterion to judge by and since 
physiology itself cannot state exactly what life is, where it ends, 
and where death begins. If the contention of the protectors of 
animals that the animal continues to live as long as contractions 
of its muscles are to be seen were correct, then it would have to 
be regarded as living even after its head is cut off, for, as is often 
to be observed in slaughter-houses, entire groups of muscles some- 
times contract after the carcass has been sawn through and the 
pieces hung up. 


1. The Jewish Method of Slaughter. 

With regard to the time at which unconsciousness sets in after 
all bloodvessels of the neck have been severed by a sharp knife, I 
have sufficiently shown in the papers and reports above men- 
tioned* that the function of the brain and in particular of its 
grey matter the seat of consciousness ceases immediately after 
the blood-supply is cut off i.e., immediately after the arteries of 
the neck are cut through, and that the consciousness of the 
animal is lost within the lapse of three to five seconds, and, in 
the case of dogs, even sooner. 

The important influence of a fresh arterial blood-supply on the 
function of the brain in man and animal alike can easily be 
recognised, even by the layman, by a very simple experiment. 
If the abdominal aorta, the vessel which carries the blood to the 
lower extremities (in animals to the hind legs), is compressed 
through the belly walls against the spinal column, the extremities 
become paralysed for the time being i.e., they lose the power of 
movement and also of sensation ; but the latter reappear as soon 
as the compressing hand is taken away and the impediment to 

* J. A. Dembo, Anatomisch-physiologische Grundlagen der versckiedenen 
Metlioden des Viehschlnchtens. (Papers read before the Medical Society of 
St. Petersburg on the 1st and 15th of December, 1892.) 


the flow of blood removed. Now, if the spinal cord is so much 
in need of a constant supply of fresh blood for the performance of 
its functions, and ceases to do its work because of an interruption 
of that supply, how much more must that be the case with the 
brain, which is made up of a far more subtle and sensitive matter 
than the cord ? The influence of the blood-supply on the function 
of the brain can also be proved by the following very interesting 
experiments : On a wheel, which is placed horizontally and 
turns around a vertical axis with a certain velocity, a small animal, 
say, a rabbit, is placed in such a position that its head lies towards 
the centre and the hind legs towards the circumference of the 
wheel. If the wheel is put in motion the animal very soon lies as 
if it were dead. 

Now, if it is turned round with its head towards the circum- 
ference and the legs towards the centre, it will soon revive. 
That may be repeated with the same results as often as desired. 
The explanation is simple enough. During the rotation of the 
wheel the greatest velocity is at the circumference, the least at 
the centre, and a centrifugal force is developed, with the result 
that the movable parts (in this experiment the blood) are driven 
towards the circumference. Thus, during the first half of the 
experiment the blood is expelled from the brain, and the animal is 
unconscious ; during the second stage of the experiment, the blood 
returns to the head from the hinder parts of the animal, and life 
and consciousness return with it. 

Not less instructive is the experiment carried out by Brown- 
Sequard. He revived the head of an executed criminal by filling 
the arteries of the neck with blood which had been previously 

The same experiment was repeated on animals by Professor 
Vulpian.* He found that if a dog is guillotined, or killed in 
some other way, and its head cut off, and as much as ten minutes 
are allowed to elapse, so that all phenomena of life have entirely 
disappeared, it is still possible to obtain, within two or three 
minutes, signs of life in the head by injecting into the arteries of 
the head, and through them into the brain, defibrinated blood 
containing oxygen. 

* Vulpian, Phytialoffie du systeme nerveux, p. 459. 


But for the smooth working of the cerebral centres, or, in other 
words, for the psychical functions of the brain, it is not only 
necessary that the element which contains the food for the brain 
i.e., the blood carrying oxygen, should be supplied regularly and 
uninterruptedly, but it is also essential that the blood should be 
continually circulating in order to carry away waste products and 
replace them by fresh material. 

Of all parts of our body, the outer layer of the brain is that 
which is most in want of food, and which is least able to stand 
even the slightest interference with its supply. This, too, is the 
reason why, in the case of great excitement, when the heart stops 
for a time, and the circulation of blood in the cerebral centres is 
brought to a standstill, we often lose consciousness and all power 
of motion (fainting fit). Nay, sometimes the plugging of a single 
vessel in a certain part of the brain is sufficient to cause instan- 
taneous loss of consciousness, a fact which is often seen in an 
apoplectic fit. 

Many persons who are not sufficiently versed in physiology, and 
who are unacquainted with the important part which the pressure 
of the blood plays in regulating the functions of the brain and in 
maintaining the life of animals, are likely to make here the 
objection that, after severance of the vessels of the neck, two of 
them, the vertebral arteries, which branch off below the point of 
section and run more deeply, still remain entire and can carry blood 
to the brain. It is not difficult to show the worthlessness of this 
argument. The bloodvessels of the body constitute a system of 
elastic tubes or pipes, the walls of which are always more or less 
stretched according to the amount of pressure which is brought to 
bear upon them by the greater or lesser bulk of blood contained in 
them. The system is closed from without, but within forms a com- 
plete circle for the flow of the blood. If now an opening is made 
in one of the parts of the system e.g., in a vein for bleeding, the 
pressure in the whole system immediately falls, and sinks lower and 
lower in proportion to the quantity of blood which is allowed to 
escape. If such large bloodvessels as the arteries of the neck are 
cut, whereby the blood is thrown out in a mighty jet as from a 
fountain, it is clear that the blood pressure within the arteries, 
and consequently also within the brain, must fall very con- 
siderably. The small amount of blood which is still carried 


onward to the brain by the vertebral arteries runs immediately 
to the place of least resistance that is, to the gaping ends of the 
cut, arteries and there escapes. Thus, the vertebral arteries, 
although not severed themselves, have no power whatever once the 
chief arteries of the neck are cut through. 

How little weight the same objection has when subjected to the 
criticism of the physiologist is also evident from the following 
consideration. The brain of man and animals being constructed 
in such a manner that for its regular action it requires to be fed 
with blood through a channel as big as the carotids and vertebrals 
put together, it cannot possibly continue to discharge its functions 
properly if suddenly made to depend on the small supply of the 
vertebrals alone, the diameter of which is three to four times less 
than that of the carotids. A simple experiment on man will prove 
this point. If you press the carotids against the vertebras (the 
tubercle of Chassaignac) and thus cut off that part of the blood- 
supply of the brain which is derived from the carotids, the person 
immediately faints. Now what would you expect when, besides, 
the vessels are cut through and the shock is heightened by the 
sudden and copious loss of blood ? The fact underlying this 
experiment is well known to and often turned to account by certain 
skilled criminals for the purpose of making their victim senseless 
for a short time so as to rob him. That the vertebral arteries take 
a far smaller part than the carotids in the nutrition of the brain is 
also shown by the fact that in recent years surgeons have begun 
to treat epilepsy by the ligature of the vertebrals without in way 
interfering with the health and mental activity of the brain. 
Thus, the surgeon Eoman von Baracz, of Lemberg, published a 
case in which he ligatured both the vertebrals of an epileptic sub- 
ject without any injury to his health.* This method is not even 
new, as Dr. Alexander, of Liverpool, had performed this operation 
in thirty-five cases as long ago as 1882. The vertebral arteries 
can evidently be of no great importance for the blood-suppl y of the 

That the blood-pressure falls very soon after the arteries of the 
neck have been cut has already been proved by the well-known 
physiologist Professor Schiff. In a paper read before the Congress 

* Wiener med. Wockenschrlft, 1889, No. 7, 8 and 9. 


of Physiologists at Bale in 1889, he says: " When the circulation 
in both carotids is interrupted even without causing any loss of 
blood, the blood-pressure in the vertebrals is much diminished. 
But when the carotids are cut through the blood-pressure falls 
much lower." 

Where the arteries of the neck are divided in such a manner as 
in the Jewish method of slaughter, so enormous a quantity of 
blood escapes from the four gaping mouths of the vessels during 
the very first seconds and the blood-pressure in the brain falls so 
rapidly that consciousness is at once and irretrievably lost. In 
hundreds of cases I observed in slaughter-houses and in all con- 
trolling experiments in the laboratory, I invariably found that uncon- 
sciousness came on after three to five seconds, and with it, as a 
matter of course, sensibility was abolished ; for the moment con- 
sciousness is lost the animal is naturally unable to feel anything. 
And is not the same thing also seen in man ? A person who has 
fainted from loss of blood is unable, after regaining conscious- 
ness, to tell what has happened to him in the meantime. The loss 
of blood need not even be excessive. In my midwifery practice it 
has often happened to me to carry out the most difficult and pain- 
ful operations without chloroform on women who had fainted from 
previous haemorrhage, which I am sure it would have been impos- 
sible for me to do had the patient been conscious. Afterwards 
they told me that they had not felt the slightest pain during the 
operation. The haemorrhage in this case, it must be said, was 
infinitely small in comparison with the fearful gush of blood when 
the carotids are divided, and yet unconsciousness was profound and 
insensibility absolute. After this no man in his senses could 
seriously imagine that an animal, unconscious from a profuse 
hemorrhage from the carotids, could still continue to feel pain. 

Nor can I attach much value to another objection made by 
some non-specialists. They point out that on touching the eye of 
an animal with the finger ten to fifteen seconds after the throat 
has been cut, the animal shuts its eye, and they conclude from 
this that the animal is not unconscious. Well, to my mind, every- 
body who has learnt the first principles of physiology must know 
that reflex actions of this kind can by no means be regarded as 
symptoms of consciousness and sensibility. These reflex actions 
one may often see in patients when unconscious under the 


influence of an anaesthetic, as chloroform, ether, &c., unless the 
degree of anaesthesia is very profound. In the slaughter-house at 
Frankfort and elsewhere, I have shown, by a very simple experi- 
ment, that those muscular contractions which are produced by 
touching or rubbing certain muscles and nerves do not at all prove 
that consciousness still exists. If the head of an ox is entirely cut 
off from the body and certain points of the head are touched, the 
dead head can be made to open its mouth, to put out the tongue in 
any direction that may be desired, &c. 

A further attack on the Jewish method of killing is based on the 
fact, that some time after the division of the arteries of the neck 
the end of the divided vessels are closed by a certain substance 
(clotted blood), and, that the escape of blood being hampered, it is 
necessary to make a few further cuts for the blood to flow out 
more quickly. This objection is, to speak plainly, mere nonsense. 
According to the laws of blood-pressure, a cut bloodvessel can be 
plugged by clotted blood only when the Uood-pressure has already 
fallen so low that the flowing Hood is no longer strong enough to wash 
away the obstacle ; but by that time the animal has long been uncon- 
scious and utterly indifferent to any treatment. This question was 
carefully investigated by myself and the other members of the 
Commission for the Selection of the Best Method of Slaughter, 
and was decided in the sense above indicated. In Russia, indeed, 
the useless after-cutting just referred to is never done, except in 
those abattoirs where the blood is preserved for the manufacture of 
albumen. With every fresh cut of course a new quantity of blood 
pours forth, because more vessels and tissues are divided, but at the 
same time you diminish the blood coming from the first cut, and if 
you finally compare the quantities of blood obtained from two 
slaughtered animals of similar size, you will find them exactly alike, 
whether after-cutting has been done or not. 

At any rate, the question whether the blood should run out 
from one vessel or from all vessels equally, has absolutely nothing 
to do with humanity, and is at most a matter for economical 
consideration, in some places at least. Besides, it depends entirely 
upon the butcher to make the blood pour forth with more or 
less visible force, according to the taste of the members of the 
Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Practice in the 
slaughter-houses has convinced me that when the cut is made 


somewhat deeper and nearer to the chest (to which the Jewish law 
is not opposed) subsequent cutting is quite unnecessary, as in that 
case there is a gush of blood copious enough to satisfy the largest 
demands. The gush is so powerful, that where the blood is wanted 
for albumen factories and carefully collected, the butcher, not 
wishing to have it scattered all over the place, grasps the cut 
vessels with his fingers and compresses them as much as he can. 
This practice is based on anatomical reasons, into which I cannot 
enter here more fully. I have already called attention to this cir- 
cumstance in many slaughter-houses. It is true that when the cut 
through the neck is made lower down, the butcher, in selling the 
heads at the same price he gets now, will perhaps lose the value 
of three to four pounds of meat which goes with the head, but the 
poor man who buys the head will have the benefit of it. If that, 
however, is any inconvenience, it can be settled in some way or 
other, rather than that a good and humane method of slaughter 
should be given up. 

The further contention, that the death of an animal slaughtered 
in the Jewish manner is really death from suffocation, is anything 
but founded on facts. Death from cut bloodvessels cannot be 
mixed up with death from suffocation, because in the former case 
unconsciousness takes place much earlier than any symptoms of 
suffocation could possibly develop. Besides, the windpipe of the 
animal is fully opened at the same time as the bloodvessels, air 
has thus free admission to the lungs, and there is not the slightest 
hindrance to respiration. 

Is it not well known that during prolonged surgical operations 
on the neck and in certain diseases of the throat, when respiration 
through the mouth and nose is impeded, the patients are made to 
breathe through a tube put into an opening made in the windpipe ? 
And they manage it very well indeed. Certainly every kind of 
death from loss of blood, whether with or without previous stun- 
ning, may physiologically be regarded in the last instance as a 
death from suffocation, as the blood is the chief carrier of oxygen, 
without which life is impossible. But if that is true of the Jewish 
way of slaughtering, is is still more true of stunning. This can 
easily be proved. It is generally known that the more oxygen there 
is in blood the brighter it is, and the less there is in it of that 
gaseous body the darker is the colour of the blood. Now one need 


only witness a few cases in which the one and the other method 
is applied to be convinced that in the Jewish method the blood 
is of a bright scarlet colour, and in all methods of stunning dark 
purplish red. 

The attempt to prove that consciousness is retained by instancing 
the fact that sometimes epileptoid convulsions follow the act of 
slaughter does not seem to me at all more reasonable. Those who 
regard this symptom as a real proof of their contention must, seeing 
that the same convulsive movements take place in the case of stun- 
ning with the hammer and the application of the mask with the 
iron bolt, concede that no loss of consciousness is induced by these 
methods either. When the animal is stunned the convulsions are 
observed as often as thre-e different times : first, with every repeated 
blow on the head ; secondly, when the knife, not being sufficiently 
sharp, is brutally thrust in, not immediately after the stunning, but 
after some time (in both these cases the convulsions have the 
character of voluntary contractions of the muscles) ; thirdly and 
lastly, after a great quantity of blood has already been lost 
(epileptoid and unconscious movements in consequence of the 
anaemia of the brain). The last kind of convulsions is that seen in 
the Jewish method. 

Now although these epileptoid convulsions are less marked in 
the case of stunning, that does not by any means imply that stun- 
ning is a better method. To the animal that is already deeply 
unconscious, it matters nothing whether its muscles are convulsed 
or at rest ; but for the complete escape of blood the convulsions are 
important, as they help in pressing out the fluid from all the small 
vessels. Apart from this, the involuntary movements help to make 
the meat more tender and to keep better, a point to which I shall 
have to return further on in the chapter in which I give the results 
of my chemical investigations. Experienced butchers for the same 
reason try to prolong these movements by rubbing the extremities of 
the animal. Sometimes, where the animal was killed with Bruneau's 
mask, I have seen the butcher repeatedly push the cane into the 
spinal canal, and by so doing cause stronger convulsions, his purpose 
being to obtain a more complete escape of blood. 

That the epileptoid movements have nothing to do with con- 
sciousness, is easily proved in the case of man. Everybody knows 
that exactly the same convulsions constantly occur in epileptic fits 


(this is why the convulsions are called " epileptoid "), and, as a 
matter of fact, the patient is quite unconscious, feels no pain, and 
on awakening knows nothing of what has happened. 

I have already pointed out, in my paper read before the Medical 
Society of St. Petersburg, that the only pain felt by the animal is 
that caused by the cut through the soft parts of the neck. That 
pain can only be very slight, as the knife used is exceedingly sharp, 
and we know that even man may be cut in a part very plentifully 
supplied with nerves without feeling too great pain, provided that 
the instrument be very sharp. Apart from this, the sensibility of 
mammals and particularly that of the herbivorous mammals is 
far below that of the human being. Dogs, for instance, can bear 
an operation, without struggling against it, that would cause the 
strongest man to give violent signs of pain. Moreover, the anato- 
mical fact that in the Jewish method of slaughtering the pneumo- 
gastric nerve (n. vagus) is divided below the point where its sensory 
branches to the larynx are given off, that thus the sensory branches 
need not be divided at all, is a circumstance which of course goes 
far to lessen the pain of the animal. The student of the Jewish 
ritual law, when carefully reading the directions on this point, will 
find that the incision is allowed to be made lower but never higher 
than the level of the lower edge of the larynx. It is difficult to 
decide whether this rule has been laid down lest the knife be 
damaged by the cartilage of the larynx, or because the teachers of 
religion had already a knowledge of the above-mentioned anato- 
mical distribution of the pneumogastric nerve. At any rate, it is 
a fact that those very sensitive nervous filaments are not severed 
by the knife in the Jewish method of slaughtering. 

Kecently it has been alleged against the Jewish method that it 
has happened that an ox has risen on his legs after his throat had 
been cut. Now it cannot be denied that such a thing may happen, 
especially if the animal has not been properly tied ; but, according 
to all my experience, I can positively assert that if only five seconds 
have elapsed between the cut and the jumping up, this movement 
can no longer be regarded as a conscious and voluntary act. It is 
in the knowledge of everybody that turkeys run about for a long 
time after their heads have been cut off, and that a duck is able to 
swim without its head ; but nobody will assume that these acts are 
conscious. If the fact alleged is a defect at all, it is so only from 


an aesthetic point of view, and can easily be remedied by the outlay 
of a few pence in the purchase of a strong rope. 

Besides, how often have I not seen that oxen, who were felled 
by three and four knocks of the head, suddenly spring up again 
fully conscious ? 

Another, to say the least, very futile objection adduced against 
the Jewish method, is that the wound in the neck is sometimes 
befouled by the vomiting of the animal. Everybody who has made 
observations in the slaughter-house is aware of the fact that the 
same thing also happens when other methods of killing are adopted ; 
the difference being that, in the other methods, where the cut for 
the letting out of the blood is carried downwards far enough to 
open the cavity of the chest, there is a chance of the latter also 
being befouled by the contents of the stomach ; this can never 
happen in the Jewish method. 

Some members of the Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to 
Animals base their aversion to the Jewish method of slaughter on 
the " mental agony," the " anguish of soul " which the animals 
experience whilst they are bound and laid down, perceiving the 
approach of the fatal hour. I have already pointed out in my 
paper, read before the Medical Society of St. Petersburg, that the 
" mental faculties" of an ox are not exactly of a very high order. 
It happened to me, that an ox, after having received the stab in 
the neck, and while lying on the ground with a complete loss of 
power of the extremities, took from my hand some bread and salt. 
Well, after that it is rather difficult to say that he was in great fear 
of the impending death. My subsequent observations only served 
to confirm me in the opinion that the mental capacity of these 
animals is very low. Once I saw a bullock, in the very room where 
the animals were slaughtered, make an attempt at coitus ; it is not 
very likely that the sexual instinct could have arisen had the 
animal had the slightest perception that death was impending. 

When Professor Pettenkofer was told of the terror of approach- 
ing death which the animals slaughtered in the Jewish manner 
experienced, the great savant smiled and said that, as far as four- 
legged oxen are concerned, there is no reason to speak of a terror 
of death. 

The feebleness of the psychical faculties of an ox is easily con- 
ceivable from a physiological point of view. Depending as these 


faculties do on the quantity of the grey matter of the brain (the 
nerve-centres), the weight of the latter as compared with the weight 
of the whole body may fairly be regarded as a true measure of the 
mental capacity of an animal. As we shall show later on, this 
ratio in the ox is at the best as 1 to 186, whilst in man it is 1 to 
36. We can easily see from this how far one is justified in speak- 
ing of " the faculties of soul " in an ox. 

But granting even that the ox is endowed with those high 
mental qualities with which he is credited, would it really arouse 
in him feelings of a more agreeable nature when he sees that one 
man ties him to a ring, while another stands by with a club in a 
threatening position, or when he gets repeated blows on his skull ? 
Would he not then and there have the same " evil forebodings" as 
when he is laid down for the cut of the shochet ? * 

Finally, the charge is brought against the Jewish method of 
slaughtering that it is not ethical. One need only visit a slaughter- 
house more often, and keep one's eyes open to all that goes on there, 
to be convinced that this accusation has the least foundation when 
brought against the Jewish method. It seems to me more than 
strange that people should look for ethics in the slaughter-house 
when it is often not to be found outside the cruel place. You may 
slaughter in whatever way you like. The act is in itself an unethi- 
cal one, and ill to be justified by the requirements of our stomach ; 
therefore the slaughter-house will never be the proper educational 
sphere as far as ethics and morals are concerned. As to which 
method of slaughter is likely to rouse the most disagreeable sensa- 
tions in the onlooker, that is altogether a personal matter. The 
members of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals 
assert that it is the Jewish method that produces this effect; but 
on me and many persons I know, the spectacle of the blow struck 
on the animal's head, and particularly when it has to be repeated 
more than once, has a far more distressing effect. A cold shudder 
seizes me whenever I witness it. 

How differently the sight of a cruel scene may affect different 
persons is known from many cases that come before the Law 
Courts. Murderers, who have taken the life of their fellow-beings 
in a most cold-blooded manner, have experienced a terrible shock 

* The Jewish slayer. 


at the sight of a kitten being killed, or on seeing some other cruel 
treatment of an animal. It is more than probable, therefore, that 
the method of stunning, so much recommended and praised by the 
Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, will produce on 
many persons the impression of an act quite as cruel and unethical 
as the Jewish method. Those who talk big of ethics would be 
better advised to take care that no strangers, and particularly that 
no children, be admitted into slaughter-houses. Such a rule 
excluding all those who have no business to be in the slaughter- 
house from entry there exists only in a very few towns ; in most 
places the performance of the slaughter-house is much frequented 
by outsiders. In Zurich and elsewhere I saw street boys eagerly 
volunteering to drive in the oxen in order to spare the butcher 
the trouble. 

In concluding the description of the Jewish method of slaughter, 
I cannot pass in silence over another method that is in some 
respects very similar to it, since it is based on the same principle 
of direct bleeding. This mode of slaughter is known as 

2. Transfixion. 

This method, with few exceptions, is used in nearly all slaughter- 
houses of Europe for killing sheep and calves, and is particularly 
in vogue in England. It consists in plunging a pointed knife or a 
narrow two-edged dagger into the soft parts of the neck. The 
further steps vary in the different slaughter-houses ; the knife (or 
dagger), after having penetrated into the soft parts and injured 
the leading bloodvessels, is either left in the wound, and the 
animal is allowed to slowly bleed to death, or the knife, imme- 
diately after transfixing the neck, is made to cut through the front 
part of the throat from within outwards, or rather from behind 

The simple transfixion without following division of the soft 
parts is practised chiefly in those places where the blood is collected 
for the manufacture of albumen. The slowly outflowing blood is 
caught directly in the tanks. After the transfixion, with or 
without subsequent cutting as above described, in some abattoirs 
of Europe (in London, Paris, &c.) it is also usual to cut the 
spinal cord, in order to put a stop to those distressing convulsions 



that are so usual in this method, especially in the case of slow 

I do not hold it necessary to enter here upon a critical analysis 
of this method, since the reader himself will see that although the 
principle underlying it is the same as in the shecheta i.e., direct 
bleeding yet this method is entirely at variance with the demands 
of humanity, since the loss of consciousness takes place so much 
more slowly than in the Jewish method. But apart from its being 
much inferior to the latter method as regards humanity, it is also 
not commendable from a hygiene standpoint, since by the stab in 
the spinal cord the vasomotor centres become paralysed, and the 
meat soon becomes tainted. 

If we compare the Jewish method of slaughter with other 
methods in common use e.g., stunning, Bruneau's mask, the 
mask for shooting, the pole-axe, &c. we shall see that as far as 
humanity is concerned, the matter has an aspect quite different 
from that which the opponents of the Jewish slaughtering method 
are anxious to represent it as having. The hygienic shortcomings 
of the above methods I shall have occasion to consider later on when 
speaking of the quality of meat in relation to different methods. 


1. Stunning with the Mallet. 

Theoretically it cannot be denied that a blow struck on the head 
of a man, and capable of producing concussion of the brain, will 
indeed cause immediate loss of consciousness. But, as I have 
pointed out scientifically, the brain of the ox is comparatively very 
small as compared with the big skull in which it is contained this 
striking fact is best seen when the head is sawn through and is 
protected by a double bony case. As the brain is thus not so easily 
concussed, it would indeed be a feat of skill to unfailingly stun the 
animal at the first blow. The efforts of the Societies for the Pro- 
tection of Animals to introduce this method were either based on 
the observation that a heavy blow on the head of a man imme- 
diately produces unconsciousness the important fact that the 
human skull is only very thin being overlooked or on a few cases 


which happened to result successfully, from which they were led 
away to sweeping generalisations. Both the premiss and the con- 
clusion are wholly unfounded, and do not in the least agree with 
the practical experience gained in the slaughter-house. In the 
Russian slaughter-houses I long ago came to the conclusion that it 
is quite impossible to fell an ox in every case with a single blow. 
In fact, this method of killing has been recognised to be a most 
cruel one, and has therefore been abandoned long ago in towns 
like St. Petersburg, Moscow, Charkoff, Kasan and others. 

But thinking that this might possibly be due to our butchers 
not being skilful enough in delivering the fatal stroke, I went 
abroad to see how matters stood there. There I had plenty of 
opportunities of seeing the " work " done by experienced and 
skilful men, who had been practising this method for ten years 
and more, and there I was confirmed in my view that there is no 
certain means of felling an animal with one or even two blows on 
the head. The success does not depend solely on the skill and 
strength of the man, but on a whole series of accidental circum- 
stances e.g., the angle at which the blow falls on the head, the 
evenness of the skull, and other points differing in different oxen. 

These observations of mine were made mostly in the presence of 
professors of the veterinary science, or in that of the veterinary 
superintendents of the slaughter-houses, and I wish it to be dis- 
tinctly understood, not on a few occasions, but hundreds of times. 
Thus even the most zealous member of an Animal Protection 
Society cannot reproach me with not having studied the question 
practically an accusation which they are only too fond of launching 
against every scientific authority that chooses to plead for the 
Jewish method of slaughter. My experience in the abattoirs has 
taught me that those cases in which an ox is stunned by one blow 
only, are the exception rather than the rule. And besides, even if 
the animal falls at the first stroke, that does not in the least prove 
that it has lost consciousness and does not feel the subsequent 
blows. On the contrary, it happens that an ox, after having 
been felled by the first blow, and having received three or four 
blows more, suddenly jumps up fully conscious. In a slaughter- 
house at Berlin, and once in another place, I saw an ox, 
after four or five heavy blows on the head, suddenly manage to 
free its head from the hands of the men holding it, and make 


straight for the door. This fact is also maintained by veterinary 
surgeons employed in slaughter-houses. In the Report of the 
Meeting of the Veterinary Officials of Slaughter-houses in the Dis- 
trict of Arusberg, I find the following statement made by Vete- 
rinary-Surgeon Goldstein : " Striking with the club is very unsafe. 
All of you know that the animal often receives many blows, and 
has to suffer intense pain before it is stunned."* 

Besides, every butcher knows that the ox, even when felled by 
the first blow, is not necessarily stunned, and therefore the butcher 
is never satisfied with dealing him one blow only, but considers it 
better to strike him four, five, or eight times more before commenc- 
ing the slaughtering proper i.e., the opening of the bloodvessels. 

In the abattoir of Lucerne, two oxen were killed by stunning in 
the presence of the veterinary surgeon of that establishment, M. C. 
Eosselet, and myself. On one animal the first blow had no effect 
whatever ; after the second it fell down on its knees, but remained 
standing on its hind legs, and only after five further blows did it fall 
down entirely. The second animal, which was only two years old, 
fell at the first stroke. That the ox feels every succeeding blow is 
proved by its conscious movements, by the bellowing and groaning 
to which it sometimes gives vent, and by its turning round from 
one side to the other. The butchers know that very well, and con- 
tinue to strike the animal until the movements cease i.e., until 
they are sure that he will not jump up any more. One must see 
the deep holes made with the hammer in the bones of the skull to 
form a right conception of the agony the animal has to suffer in 
this method of killing. Amongst my notes there is a case (and I 
could give the name of the slaughter-house if necessary) where the 
animal was struck with the hammer eleven times before it fell. 
Such barbarous ill-usage may make the animal furious, and in 
small provincial towns where in the slaughter-house there are no 
iron rings to fasten it to, the saddest accidents may sometimes 

The following case I quote from the Crimean Gazette. The Yeka- 
terinosslaw correspondent of that journal writes: "At noon of Octo- 
ber the 31st, the inhabitants of this town were alarmed by the news 

* See Zeitschrift fur If'leuch u. Milchhygiene. Edited by Prof. Ostertag. Feb. 



that an ox had become mad, and escaped from the very old jerry-built 
wooden slaughter-house in which the horned cattle are killed in an, 
inquisitorial fashion by tying their feet and beating them on the 
forehead. The forehead of this bullock proved to be very resistent, 
and not only did the blows not stun him, but through the concus- 
sion of the brain the nervous system of the animal became excited 
to such a degree that he tore the ropes, shattered the shed, broke 
through the fence and rushed into the town. Kunning about the 
streets and boulevards in a furiously mad state, he knocked down 
several people with his horns, and trod on them. An Italian was 
gored in the loin, and had his skull fractured when knocked down. 
The poor man had to be carried to a hospital, and his condition is 
almost hopeless. The people in the boulevards were greatly 
alarmed until the animal at last was shot down on one of the town 

It must here be remarked that it is by no means the rule that a 
young ox is more easily stunned than an old one. On the con- 
trary, I have often noticed that in young animals of three or four 
years concussion of the brain is not less difficult to obtain. This 
fact is well known amongst the slaughtermen, as I was told by a 
wholesale butcher. It would take me, I fear, too far away from 
the subject if I were to consider this point in all its possible 
scientific aspects, it is sufficient here to mention that the most pro- 
bable reason is the greater elasticity of the young skull.f We 
know that children and young people can sometimes stand hard 
knocks on the head without concussion of the brain, whilst elderly 
persons in the same circumstances easily lose consciousness. To the 
question why, as a rule, an ox cannot be stunned at the first blow, 
and why so successful a case is rather exceptional, an answer can 
be found by considering first the relations of brain and skull in oxen, 
secondly the functions of the brain in man as well as in animals. 
The weight of the human brain is on an average as much as a 36th 
part of the weight of the whole body, and the brain being con- 
tained in a comparatively small skull, the walls of the latter must 
necessarily be very thin ; in mammals, on the contrary, the average 

* Many more accidents of this kind have been described recently. 

t In old bullocks naturally the converse phenomenon is often seen i.e. , an 
extreme ossification of the skull, and therefore eight or more blows are required 
to stun them. 


weight of the brain is only T ^-g-th part of the body weight (in oxen 
still less), and the bony skull is much larger in comparison with 
the body than in man, so that the bulk of the large head must 
consist of thick bones. Under such conditions, it must necessarily 
be very difficult to produce concussion of the brain and uncon- 
sciousness by one blow on the very thick case. As far as the 
functions of the brain are concerned, the following points must be 
noted : all organs of sense in man as well as in animals have their 
centres in the brain, or rather in the outer layers, the cortex, of the 
brain. Thus, H. Munk, a great authority in this branch of science, 
has proved that the centre of sight lies in the back part of the 
brain, the centre of hearing in the temporal (temporo-sphenoidal) 
parts, &c. If the hinder parts of the brain of an animal is wounded 
or even cut away, the animal becomes blind ; if the temporal lobe 
of the brain is injured, it loses the power of hearing and so forth. 
But for the intelligence there is no special centre in the brain ; it 
has its seat all over the cortex. 

" The intellect," says Munk, " has its seat everywhere in the 
cortex of the brain. An injury to the outer surface of the brain is 
the more damaging to the intellect the wider the injured area is."* 

If the extent of the loss of intellect depends on the extent of the 
injury, the same rule must hold good as regards the loss of con- 
sciousness. And, indeed, if intellect and consciousness are not 
identical in all respects, everything postulated for the former must 
essentially be applicable, even with a higher degree of probability, 
to the second. Consciousness is possible without intellect, but 
intellect never without consciousness, therefore consciousness must 
be an essential condition for the intelligence. An animal, for in- 
stance, can be in full power of its consciousness without being 
intelligent, but the reverse is quite impossible. Now if complete 
loss of the intellect is only possible when the whole cortex of the 
brain has been injured, it is evident that for complete loss of con- 
sciousness to occur at least the same extent of injury will be 
required. Or, in other words, the greater the extent of the injury, 
the more will the consciousness suffer. Apart from this, I may 
here call attention to the fact, long ago discovered by Flourens 
and Vulpian, and proved by numerous experiments, that the 

* H. Munk, Ueber die Function der Grosahirnrinde, 1890, p. 59. 


corresponding parts are similar in structure in both halves of the 
brain, arranged for the same function, and can replace each other if 
necessary. Complete unconsciousness can thus be caused only by an 
extensive injury of both hemispheres of the brain. Consequently 
the animal, having been struck by the first and second blows of the 
butcher, may still not be sufficiently injured to lose consciousness 
completely, although it may appear to be unconscious. 

This fact is equally true of man. The illustrious surgeon 
Pirogoff, who exhaustively treated the subject of injuries to the 
head, long ago contended that the severest injuries of the skull are 
not always accompanied by loss of consciousness.* " Many trau- 
matic cases prove," says Pirogoff, " that severe injuries of the brain 
do not always disorder its functions. I have seen cases in which 
the bones of the skull were deeply depressed into the substance of 
the brain and the patients were not unconscious." From this he 
concludes that even the most extensive injuries of the brain may 
occur without loss of consciousness. 

This famous surgeon, whose name is known to the medical pro- 
fession all over the world, by reason of his long and wide experi- 
ence in hospitals and on the battlefield, gives the following classifi- 
cation of grave injuries of the skull : 

1. Cases in which the patient, after the injury, either does not 
lose consciousness at all, or losing it only for a few moments, 
recovers immediately. 

2. Cases in which consciousness is not lost immediately, but 
some time after the accident. 

3. Cases in which the patient instantly falls unconscious, 
recovering from that state only after a long lapse of time. 

4. Those cases in which the patient loses consciousness imme- 
diately after the accident and never recovers it. 

Many further cases are recorded in medical literature, in which 
extensive lesions of the cortex of the brain passed off without any 
disturbance of the psychical or motor powers of the brain. 

The following cases are recorded in Professor Alberts' " Treatise 
on Surgery " : A labourer being engaged in the blasting of rocks 
had his skull pierced by a steel-pointed iron boring-rod, 1 inches 
thick. He recovered from the injury, and when he died thirteen 

* N. Pirogoff, Principles of Field Surgery. Dresden. 1865. In Russian. 


years later from some other cause, the post-mortem examination 
proved beyond question that the brain had been pierced. His 
skull is preserved in the Boston Museum. A second case happened 
during the battle of Landrecies. Twenty-two soldiers had lost a 
part of their skulls by horizontal sword cuts. In twelve of these 
cases the wounds were as broad as a man's hand, and considerable 
portions of the membranes of the brain and the brain itself were 
carried away. All of them marched six days and then had their 
wounds attended to. 

That an injury of the brain does not always cause loss of con- 
sciousness is also illustrated by the case, mentioned in Stromeyer's 
" Surgery " : During one of the Afghan wars an English soldier re- 
ceived a sword-cut from an Afghan, which carried away a part of 
his skull and brain ; but he continued fighting none the less. 

I could quote from surgical and medical works many more cases 
in which injuries to the brain did not cause loss of consciousness 
at the time of infliction, but I assume that those I have cited are 
sufficient to prove that neither injuries to the skull nor to the brain 
itself necessarily cause unconsciousness. 

In medical practice we often have the opportunity of convincing 
ourselves that consciousness is not always really lost where it would 
seem to be so from the appearance of the patient. It has happened 
that patients, who were thought to be unconscious by all present, 
have, after recovering from the disease, related how they had over- 
heard the whole of the conversation of the medical men, and how 
they were seized with despair on hearing themselves condemned 
to die, &c. They had been conscious of all that was going on 
around them, but powerless to make known their state and their 

Seeing that even in man with his thin skull, severe injuries can- 
not invariably cause unconsciousness, we may conceive that in cattle 
it would occur still less frequently. 

The fact that an injury to one or the other part of the- brain 
causes the animal to fall down or to lose the power of motion or 
sight cannot be regarded as proof that it has lost sensibility also. 
The animal may be conscious enough, but at the same time it may 
have the appearance of being unconscious, because it is unable to 
give expression to the pain which it feels. 

Only lately I myself witnessed a scene by which I was consider- 


ably struck. It was in the laboratory of the Veterinary High 
School of Berlin. In the presence of some physiologists I was 
going to kill two rabbits, one by stunning and the other in the 
Jewish manner, in order to compare the effect of the different 
methods on the outflow of the blood. To spare the first rabbit as 
far as possible all unnecessary pain, I took an iron hammer, weigh- 
ing 650 grammes, and with all my strength dealt the rabbit a blow 
with it on the front part of the head. But we were all greatly amazed 
when the little animal, which itself weighed but three times as 
much as the hammer (1950 grammes), not only remained standing 
after that heavy blow, but retained its consciousness and even its 
ocular reflexes. 

My statistics, compiled from many hundred cases observed in 
the slaughter-houses of Germany and Switzerland, show that on an 
average five to six blows are required to stun an ox completely. 
If we assume that the lifting of the hammer, the blow and the interval 
between one blow and the other, each occupy but one second, the 
animal's suffering must last not less than twelve seconds before it 
ceases to feel. 

But how often have I not seen that it was impossible to count 
these operations by seconds only. Now and then it even happens 
that after a long and fruitless trial, the slaughterer, tired out, is 
sent away to be replaced by another man, and the animal in the 
meantime has to suffer extreme pain from the blows which it has 
already received. If things of this kind happen in the largest and 
best regulated abattoirs of Europe, where naturally the most 
skilled slaughterers are employed, we are justified in asking what 
is to be expected from this method of killing in the country with 
the primitive arrangement of the slaughter-houses there ? In what 
agonies must the animal die after these unsuccessful attempts to 
stun it ! How could any man in his senses compare this pain 
with that caused by a single cut through the bloodvessels of the 
neck, which causes IOJBS of consciousness within five seconds ? My 
estimate, that on an average five to six blows are required to stun 
an ox, is confirmed by several veterinary professors and directors 
of abattoirs, as Professors Chauveau, Gerlach, Adam, Zaugger, 
Hertwig and others, whilst an estimate given by the Board of 
the Butchers' Guild of Frankfort-on-the-Main, on December 5, 
1885, even exceeds the numbers given by myself. This document 


states that in the presence of the Board seventy-one . blows were 
required to kill nine oxen, which makes nearly eight blows to one 

Watching the further steps in slaughtering with previous 
stunning, we see that between the act of stunning and that of 
bleeding, a certain time, as a rule, is allowed to elapse, because, as 
experienced butchers know, the escape of blood immediately after 
stunning is too scanty ; therefore, they are not in a hurry to start 
the slaughtering proper. In such instances, when the knife, and 
particularly when a somewhat blunt knife, is plunged into the 
animal, or when the butcher, in order to open the cavity of the chest, 
uses the knife too much, I have often had the opportunity of seeing 
that the animal, which had been lying quietly till then, made dis- 
tinctly " conscious " movements. But when the interval between 
stunning and bleeding had for some reason or other been too long, 
I saw signs of consciousness so distinct that they could not 
escape even the eye of a person not trained in medicine. A few 
times I heard the animals groan with pain in a most distressing 

Thus on analysing all these symptoms with critical and experienced 
eyes, and on taking into account all the' facts of physiology, surgery, 
and medicine relating to the subject, one is driven to the con- 
clusion that, from the humanitarian standpoint, the method of 
slaughtering with previous stunning cannot bear comparison with the 
Jewish method of slaughtering. 

2. Slaughtering with the Poleaxe. 

In London and Paris cattle are felled with a special implement 
known as the poleaxe, a blow with which is supposed to result in 
fracture of the animal's skull and loss of consciousness. The 
poleaxe is formed of a wooden handle about a yard Jong, sur- 
mounted by an iron head of two branches, one thin and straight, 
and from 2| to 3| inches long, and the other about 7 inches in 
length and curved at the end in the form of a hook. Slaughtering 
with the poleaxe has long been in vogue in England, and accord- 
ing to information I obtained in French abattoirs its use in France 
dates from 1872. 

* Frankfurter InteUigenzllatt, No. 286, Dec. 6, 1885. Second supplement. 


The mode of procedure is as follows : A heavy blow is struck 
with the implement on the animal's head which fractures the 
skull, driving the thin and uncurved branch of the axe deep in. 
Some butchers strike this blow in the middle of the animal's 
forehead, others at the nape of the neck, and others finally strike 
at both places in succession. Into the gap thus produced a cane 
about a yard in length is thrust, for the purpose of destroying the 
medulla oblongata and the spinal marrow. When the animal 
ceases to struggle, the bloodvessels of the neck are severed, and 
the blood allowed to escape. 

I do not think it necessary to examine this method from the 
scientific point of view, as the considerations into which I have 
entered in dealing with felling methods as a class will admit of a 
general application here. It is evident that in consequence of the 
thickness of the skull-bones in an ox, and particularly in an aged 
ox, an unusual strength j.and practice is required to hit the exact 
spot and fracture the skull at the first blow. Cases in which 
several blows are required are very frequent. On my first visit to 
the Deptford slaughtering yards in London I found that the 
number of blows struck was five and more. In one case the ox, 
after having received several blows, became furious, and broke the 
massive iron chain which fastened him. In a slaughtering yard 
belonging to Messrs. Spiers and Pond I witnessed a most painful 
scene, and notwithstanding my long familiarity with slaughter- 
houses, I could not endure to the end the sight of the fearful 
sufferings which the poor animal during twelve long minutes 
endured. At the second blow, the ox sank on his hindlegs, but 
at the fourth he rose again with such a dreadful bellowing that 
all present turned to fly. The butchers tried long to hit it a deadly 
blow, but the maddened animal dashed its head about so violently 
that it was impossible for them to effect this until twelve minutes 
by my watch had elapsed, and six other blows had followed the 

If such scenes are witnessed in London, where the slaughter- 
men are evidently experienced, and where all precautions are 
taken to guard against such accidents, what must we imagine 
this method to be when employed in small towns and villages ? 

The case quoted above is sufficient to condemn the method. 
The success of the operation depends on so many different con- 


ditions the muscular strength of the slaughterman, the condition 
of the instrument, the thickness of the animal's skull that the 
method of felling with the poleaxe must be suppressed, as being 
cruel to the animal and dangerous for the slaughterman. 

Moreover, as I have already said, there is nothing to prove that 
the felled animal has quite lost consciousness, still less that it is 
insensible to the fearful pain caused by the thrusting of the cane 
into the brain. 

In short, from the humanitarian point of view the method of 
felling with the poleaxe cannot hear comparison with the Jewish 
method, which induces loss of consciousness in five seconds. 

Viewed from the standpoint of hygiene, this method has still 
more drawbacks, for the injury to the brain causes paralysis of the 
vasomotor nerves, and the consequent accumulation of the blood 
in the veins results in the rapid decomposition of the meat.* 

3. The English Patented Slaughtering Method. 

This method is in use in some towns in England, and yields 
what is known as " Patent Meat." It is as follows : The animal 
is first stunned by a blow on the head, after which an opening is 
made in the wall of the chest between the fourth and fifth ribs, 
through which the nozzle of a bellows is inserted, and a large 
quantity of air blown into the cavity of the chest. The lungs are 
thereby compressed, and the animal suffocates. In the meat 
yielded by this method symptoms of decomposition manifest 
themselves within a few hours. 

A method without bleeding analogous to this is practised by 
the nomad peoples of Russia, among others by the Kalmucks, the 
difference between their method and the English being that the 
Kalmucks draw out the heart of the animal through an opening 
made in the left side, and tie up the vascular trunks running 
from it. 

These methods are both of them equally cruel, and can in any 
case only be practised in places where there is a large demand for 
meat containing so much blood. For this reason this " English 

* It is only right to say that this method, of English origin, is employed in 
Paris under the name of " English system," with more success than in London 
no doubt because of the greater skill of the slaughtermen. 


Patented Method " has already been abandoned in many towns 
where it was formerly in use. 

Proceeding next to the examination of another method of 
killing, which is in use in some abattoirs of Germany and 
Switzerland (in Leipzig, Geneva, and Naples*) and elsewhere, 
namely, the Bruneau mask, we shall see that " humanity " fares 
here a good deal worse still. 

4. Bruneau's Mask. 

This slaughtering mask, or as it is also called " poleaxe with a 
mask," is made of leather or sometimes also of copper. When of 
leather, a metal disc with a round hole for the bolt is fixed in it. 
The mask is fixed on the head by means of straps in such a way 
that it covers the eyes of the animal, and the hole for the bolt 
lies exactly opposite the middle of the forehead. A bolt, with a 
button-shaped head, is now put in the hole, and driven into the 
brain by a stroke with a heavy wooden mallet. Then the bolt is 
removed, through the hole thus made in the skull a strong sound 
(sometimes a willow cane) is introduced into the brain for the 
purpose, as they say, of destroying the medulla. This operation 
lasts from thirty to forty seconds, sometimes even more. After 
that the bloodvessels of the neck are severed. 

There is but a very superficial knowledge of anatomy and 
physiology required to see that the slightest deviation of the 
bolt, though it be no more than one millimetre, will be suffi- 
cient to prevent it reaching the medulla. Destruction of the 
brain, however, is far from enough to cause death or even 
unconsciousness, particularly when one hemisphere only is injured, 
since physiology teaches that symmetrical parts of the brain can 
take over each other's functions. And, on the other hand, that an 
injury to the brain does not always cause unconsciousness, we may 
see from a case recorded in the text-book of surgery of Professor 
Stromeyer, in which an English soldier had a portion of his skull 
and his brain cut away by an Afghan's sabre, and yet he continued 
fighting. Furthermore, we know that extensive injuries to the 

* In Rome the mask of Bruneau is only used in one slaughter-house (by a con- 
tractor to the army), and in Paris only in the slaughter-house of the inventor 


cerebrum are met with which give no symptom whatever during 
life, and are only ascertained at the post-mortem table. For a 
careful and unbiassed observer it is impossible not to see that the 
animal must suffer horrible pain when the most sensitive portions 
of its nervous system are being roughly handled with a cane, 
quite apart from the torture which is caused by the driving in of 
the bolt. I shall not speak of those hundreds of observations 
which I made myself, as it is quite sufficient to quote those 
instances in which I was in the company of some veterinary 
official of the slaughter-house. 

On Sept. 15, 1893, in the abattoir of Leipzig, and in the 
presence of the veterinary surgeon, Mr. Theodor Schubert, and 
myself, three oxen were killed by means of Bruneau's mask. The 
first ox received seven blows on the bolt, the second five and the 
last three before they severally fell. After that the butcher thrust 
the Spanish cane into the brain, but as the head was lying some- 
what at an angle with the trunk, he could not easily find the 
opening which unites the cavity of the skull with the spinal canal 
(the foramen magnum). The consequence of this delay was that 
from the first blow to the beginning of the bleeding not less than 
eight minutes passed. But the most interesting point in the 
matter was that when I opened the skulls and examined the 
brains of the first two - oxen I discovered that, notwithstanding the 
painful poking about with the cane in the brain, the medulla 
oblongata was not injured at all. My companion was extremely 
astonished when he saw that the medulla had not even been 
touched.* Thus, the theoretical assumption set forth in my 
paper, that in case of slightest deviation of the iron bolt the 
medulla escapes injury, was fully confirmed by what had happened 
in reality. But I do not hesitate to maintain, that in view of 
the direction of the bolt and the position of the medulla, it is 
anatomically impossible to injure the medulla with the bolt. At 
any rate the fact that in two instances not even the Spanish cane 
had injured the medulla is evidently of paramount importance. 

In the abattoir of Geneva, where I made my observations in the 
presence of the sanitary inspector and veterinary official, Mr. 
Georges Sulmey, and many other persons, I saw the following case : 

* I have the parts in spirit. 


In the slaughter-room No. 24, belonging to the butcher, Alexander 
Deleamont, twelve Hows had to be given on the bolt before the skull 
of an ox was pierced. After the first blow the bolt flew out and 
was found to be in an unserviceable condition. The mask was 
replaced by another and four further blows were dealt on the 
bolt. Then the ox fell, but at the fifth blow he jumped up again, 
and seven more blows were required to bring him down. Thus 
altogether the animal was struck twelve times. The other 
animals received two to three blows each and only one of them 
fell immediately after the first blow. In another instance the 
bolt broke under the heavy blow of the mallet. 

I witnessed similar incidents in the employment of Bruneau's 
mask in many other slaughter-houses. At Berne four oxen were 
killed with Bruneau's mask in the presence of the distinguished 
professor of the Veterinary College of that town, Mr. Alfred 
Guillebeau and myself. One ox fell only after the fifth blow, 
another remained quietly standing when the iron bolt of the mask 
had already penetrated into his brain, and the people had great 
trouble to get him down, and then only could they begin to 
destroy the brain with the Spanish cane. 

And, indeed, it cannot be otherwise. In order that the bolt 
should pierce the skull of an ox at the first or at least at the 
second blow, a number of conditions must be fulfilled : the mask 
must fit well on the head of the animal ; the point of the bolt 
must always be very sharp, which in large abattoirs where 
hundreds of animals are slaughtered daily, is next to impossible ; 
the bolt must not be loose in the mask but it is loose in all 
but quite new masks. I often saw a slaughterer after striking 
at the bolt eight to ten times, at last conclude that the bolt was no 
good and go away to get another, whilst the ox, wounded as he 
was by the numerous blows, was left to await his fate. 

In the public slaughter-house of Paris, " La Villette," in the 
slaughter compartment of Bruneau himself, where the people 
surely know how to handle the mask, I saw, on my very first 
visit there, a case in which the bolt was fixed so firmly in the 
skull bones that two slaughtermen had great trouble to force it 
out again. Only after they had done this could they begin to 
destroy the brain. 

How often does it happen that the bolt rebounds with the 


heavy blow and springs right out of the mask, and a long search 
has to be made for it, the wounded and suffering animal mean- 
while waiting for the blows which shall finally despatch him. 

But after all the pain the animal has to endure whilst the bolt 
is driven through its skull, is the desired object attained in every 
case ? Are we justified in expecting that loss of consciousness 
will immediately and infallibly end that most cruel procedure ? 
My scientific investigations and practical experience enable me to 
answer that question with an emphatic negative. 

I have already shown (p. 22) that the loss of an entire part of 
the brain does not always lead to unconsciousness, still less can 
it be expected to ensue in every case from the driving in of a bolt. 
Even in man, whose brain and nervous system are incomparably 
more sensitive than those of the lower mammalia, the result may 
sometimes remain negative, as is shown by the following case : * 
" Amaster tailor, aged sixty-seven, on November 27, 1891, drove five 
French nails into his skull with suicidal intent. He did it standing 
before the mirror, and after that quietly lay down. Two hours 
later he was discovered and immediately sent to the hospital (the 
' Allgemeine Krankenhaus ' in Vienna). He made the journey 
partly on foot and partly in a tram-car. The man appeared quite 
well, but on examination it was found that four nails were driven 
in the vertex (the top) of the head, one of which was bent to the 
shape of the letter S, and of the other three only the heads were 
visible. The fifth nail was driven in the region of the right 
temple, eight centimetres above the lobe of the ear. The four 
nails from the top of the head were easily extracted with bone- 
forceps, but the fifth, being bent near the top, could be drawn out 
only by following its curve. The nails proved to be 4 '3 centimetres 
long and 2 millimetres thick. The wounds on the vertex healed 
by first intention (leaving no traces). The, 'patient had no brain 
symptoms whatever, although the brain must undoubtedly have been 
injured in several places, particularly by the bent nail in the 
temple. The patient left the hospital on January 3, 1892, in 
good condition and is at present perfectly in good health." 

It might perhaps be objected that in this case there were only 

* Dr. Cissel, ' Attempted Suicide by driving Five Nails into the Skull : " 
Wiener Klinische Wbchenschrift, 1892, No. 16. 


tiny nails, whilst the bolt of Bruneau's mask is a heavy irod rod. 
But the difference between the human skull and that of an ox 
must be borne in mind. In the latter case the bolt, which is 
driven into the forehead, must first penetrate the large spaces in 
the bones (the frontal sinuses) before it can reach the brain, which 
is placed far away in the back part of the head. 

The best proof that the mask is useless is to be seen in the 
the fact that since it was invented there is no end to the improve- 
ments and modifications of the apparatus that has been proposed. 
Inventions in this direction are as "plentiful as blackberries," 
but they disappear as quickly as they appear, because a system 
founded upon false principles can never be improved. In recent 
years, for instance, a mask with a spring bolt has been patented. 
This has the advantage that the bolt can never spring out of the 
mask, but, thanks to the spring, the bolt rebounds and the poor 
animal must receive many blows before it is felled. 

If there were need of further proof that the mask of Bruneau 
does not answer its purpose it would be afforded by the fact that 
not only has it not found application outside France, but that of 
all the 184 slaughtering compartments of the Paris abbattoir, 
" La Villette," compartment No. 47, which belongs to Bruneau 
himself,* is the only one where the mask is employed. 

Quite recently the firm Boom, of Copenhagen, has placed on 
the market two new slaughter masks, one for large cattle, the 
other for calves, which are constructed on the principle of the 
poleaxe, only the manner in which they are attached to the 
head is new. But as to their efficiency it would appear, from 
the account given by the director of the abattoir of Copenhagen, 
Mr. Schwarz-Stolp, M.D., who has given them a fair trial, that 
they are much less reliable than the mask of the older system. 
He says : f 

" Numerous experiments with both masks have led me to the 
following conclusion : The application of the masks in the case of 

* It is simply astonishing how little the protectors of the animals, who pretend 
to care so much for their protfyis, know of what is really done in slaughter-houses, 
else it could never have happened that the Paris Society for the Protection of 
Animals should have awarded the first prize to Mr. Bruneau for his worthless 

t " On New Stunning Apparatuses for Cattle," by Schwarz-Stolp, M.D. : 
Zeitschrift fur Fleisch u, Milchhygienc, June 1893, fasc. 9. 



calves requires much more time than the usual way of stunning 
with the club. Apart from this, the animal striking, as it does, 
its head against one and the other side of the trestle on which it 
is placed, easily gets rid of the mask, which is therefore useless. 
.... Both masks of Boom are very complicated in construction, 
with a good deal of small accessory apparatus, which is easily 
smashed by a wrong stroke or by rough handling. When the 
mask is put on with the lateral parts (the grips for the jaws) 
drawn out and the spring beneath the bolt-opening is pushed, 
the lateral parts slam together with a noise by which the animal, 
restless as it is, is frightened and highly excited." 

Thus the result is that Boom's mask has no advantage whatever 
over that of Bruneau. 

All the other masks (the Erfurt mask, Leinert's mask, &c.) have 
other drawbacks of a more or less similar kind. 

Independently of my observations and experiments, many of 
these apparatuses have been tried by the Chief Veterinary Surgeon 
and Director of the Meat Inspection of Berlin, Dr. Hertwig, 
together with the Chief of the Veterinary Department of Prussia, 
Mr. Wolf, and found not to answer. 

In Russian slaughter-houses also (St. Petersburg, Warsaw) 
experiments in slaughtering with masks have been made ; the 
results, however, have been negative and the masks have con- 
sequently been abandoned. 

Coming now to the consideration of the method of killing with 
the aid of the shooting-mask, we shall tind that the animals are 
not only not better off, but that matters are even worse. 

5. Sigmund's Shooting-mask. 

This mask differs from that of Bruneau in that the metal disc in 
it is somewhat larger, and that after it has been fastened to the head 
the barrel of a loaded revolver is screwed on to it. This method 
has the advantage of not requiring any skilled hands and of dis- 
pensing with the necessity of introducing a cane into the wound 
for the purpose of destroying the medulla. But it possesses all 
the disadvantages of Bruneau's mask and some others besides. 

It is hardly necessary to speak of the scientific and practical 
shortcomings of this mask, as it would appear that even in the 


abattoir of Bale, which is under the management of the inventor 
himself, inefficiency is now an established fact. And it is a notable 
fact that, in spite of all efforts of Mr. Sigmund, whose invention dates 
as far back as 1886, his mask should not have only not been intro- 
duced in the other slaughter-houses of Switzerland and Germany, 
but should not always be applied even in the slaughter-house under 
his own direction. Having spent a whole day in this slaughter- 
house, I observed that more than half the animals were killed by 
stunning blows on the head, a method which the butchers there 
prefer to the use of the shooting-mask. At first I believed that the 
butchers had to pay for the use of the mask and bullets ; but they 
said, with a significant smile : " That commodity we get for nothing, 
sir ; but we beg to be excused." That is the more significant as, 
according to the director's own words, the butchers have to pay a 
fine for every case coming under the director's notice in which 
the stunning is badly done. A special book is even kept for these 
fines. Still some butchers think it more profitable to run the 
risk of a fine than to use a shooting-mask. I have asked many 
butchers the reason of their aversion to the director's mask, and 
have always received the answer : " There is not sufficient bleed- 
ing with it," or " We cannot use the shooting-mask, because all 
the blood remains in the meat and it soon goes wrong." 

The inventor himself, to whom I spoke about the matter, did 
not deny that immediately after the shooting the escape of blood 
is not satisfactory, but he expressed the opinion that by allowing 
some time to elapse before the bleeding this drawback would be 
removed. Mr. Sigmund, however, entirely ignores the fact that 
when the butcher delays the bleeding for some time after the 
shot the ox may recover from the first shock and regain con- 
sciousness to some degree. Are there not cases recorded in 
military practice in which persons who had received a bullet 
wound on the head had, soon after the injury, recovered from the 
unconsciousness thus produced? During the one day I spent in 
the slaughter-house of Bale, where certainly the people are more 
familiar with and skilled in the use of the shooting-mask than 
anywhere else, I had the opportunity of seeing an ox that had 
been shot, rush forward with the mask before his eyes and run 
his head against the wall, so that the shooting had to be repeated. 
In another case an ox jumped up a few seconds after the shot 


and was struck down with a few blows from the mallet. But as 
all this had not been sufficient to make him unconscious and he 
again made an attempt to rise, a slaughterer at last gave him a 
stab in the neck, and only after that could they begin the bleed*- 
ing. Finally, it must not be forgotten that in oxen the bones of 
the skull contain very large cavities, which can easily be seen on 
sawing through a skull. The bullet may remain in one of those 
cavities without piercing the inner wall and penetrating into the 
brain. Even in man, with his thin- walled skull, instances are 
recorded in which a bullet did not penetrate the bones and enter 
the brain, but went round the skull and made its exit through 
the skin wound. In the case of the thick-walled skull of the ox 
such an event would seem to be much more probable. 

Thus the shooting-mask, notwithstanding the free advertisement 
of it by its inventor, Mr. Sigmund, can by no means be regarded 
as an ideal method of slaughtering either from the humanitarian 
or from an economic point of view. Besides the drawbacks already 
mentioned, there is one further defect viz., that the report of the 
gun makes a very disagreeable impression upon the people present, 
and tends to frighten the cattle. Finally, as some veterinary 
surgeons have justly remarked, the shooting and the handling of 
the bullets is not altogether devoid of danger for the people 
employed in slaughter-houses. 

All these drawbacks of the shooting-mask explain sufficiently 
why the inventor of it, in spite of all his efforts, has not succeeded 
in securing for it general acceptance, not even within his own 
immediate sphere of authority. 

6. The Neck-stab. 

This method is employed in the largest slaughter-houses in 
Russia (St. Petersburg, Moscow, Charkoff, Kasan), in some of 
Germany, Switzerland and Italy (Naples, and partly in Rome) 
and is as follows : The head of the ox is drawn down by means of 
a rope fastened to its horns and passed through a strong iron 
ring fixed in the floor ; then a large iron hook held by a rope 
coiling on a windlass is made to catch the right loin in order that 
the animal should fall on its left side. After that they proceed 
with the killing proper. In order to enable the reader to better 


understand the technical points in this method it must be men- 
tioned that between the occipital bone and the first vertebra (atlas) 
there is a space which is called the oval hole (foramen ovale), which 
is covered by a strong tendinous layer (the nuchal band), by the 
muscles of the neck and the skin. The more the head is drawn 
down the more accessible this space becomes, and since in the 
upper part of the atlas of the ox there is a prominent arch, it is 
not difficult to get into the space when the knife is carried along 
the occipital bone from before backwards, and is made to cut 
through the skin, muscles and tendons. 

The butcher, armed with a pointed dagger, 6 inches long, stands 
before the ox, and with great force thrusts the dagger into the space 
from before backwards. On the instant the animal falls motionless 
to the ground seemingly without any sign of life. After this the 
slaughterman moves the dagger, which has meanwhile remained in 
the wound, from before backward and from one side to the other 
for the purpose of destroying the medulla. Sometimes I could 
count ten such movements or even more ; and at other times again 
the slaughterman, after having withdrawn the dagger, thrusts it 
in once more lest the animal should interfere with his work, as he 

The principle of this method lies in the supposed fact that the 
dagger injures the medulla, a part of the brain which, since the 
investigations of Flourens, is regarded by all physiologists as the 
seat of the vital centres, for the action of the heart as well as for 
respiration, and consequently that death takes place instantly. 
This belief that the medulla is the part sustaining injury has been 
held not only by physiologists but even by eminent veterinary 
scientists, as, for instance, Prof. Gerlach, and it is maintained to 
this very hour by those who have failed to make themselves 
acquainted with the results of my investigations in the matter. 
The careful anatomical researches which I made in 1892 on frozen 
parts of oxen killed by the neck- stab have strikingly proved that, 
for reasons afforded by the anatomical structure of the first cer- 
vical vertebra and its relation to the occipital bone, it is anatomi- 
cally impossible to injure the medulla with the stab AS USUALLY 


* On the details of these researches I reported before the Medical Society of 
St. Petersburg on the 1st and loth of December, 1892, and those interested in 


The two accompanying illustrations (a photographic view of the 
section of the frozen head of an ox, and a drawing from nature) 
bring out clearly the relations between the bones of the skull and 
the medulla oblongata, and the impossibility of piercing the latter 
by the stab in the neck. 

I have above laid special emphasis on the words " as usually 
directed " i.e., when directed from the head backwards, because 
this is the direction in which the stab is made in most slaughter- 
houses, it being then easy with a little practice to find the above 
described opening. If the stab were made in the opposite direc- 
tion -i.e., sloping towards the head then the thick muscles and 
nuchal ligament which the dagger would encounter in this direction 
might necessitate several stabs being made before the opening 
were found, which would naturally be attended with great pain to 
the animal. In this is to be found the reason of preference being 
given to the first thrust in all slaughter-houses where this method 
is in use. If it has been once shown, however, that it is impos- 
sible to pierce the medulla then it is evident that this method is a 
very cruel one, since it entails the wounding of the posterior sensory 
nerve-roots of the spinal cord. The animal is brought to the 
ground by the wound in the spinal column, but paralysis of its 
extremities and all muscles below the injured part results from 
this wound, while not alone do respiration and the heart's action 
continue, but the animal is further in full possession of its con- 

During my experiments, carried out in the laboratory of Prof. 
Vulpian in Paris, for the purpose of finding the centres for uterine 
contractions, I convinced myself that the division of the spinal cord 
in rabbits (made, as a matter of course, much lower down) did not 
interfere with their becoming pregnant and giving birth to their 

These physiological facts find confirmation in the case of man. A 
number of cases are recorded in surgery and veterinary surgery, 
in which stabs in the region of the neck were followed by paralysis 
of all four extremities, which however soon passed off (Brown- 
Sequard, Lobzick and others). Pirrondi describes a case in which 
a knife had penetrated between the first and second vertebras. 

them are referred to my publication The Anatomical and Physiological Data of 
the Different Methods of /Slaughter, Berlin, 1894 (German). 


FIG. 1. Longitudinal Section through the Frozen Head and Neck oj an Ox killed by 
the Neck-stab. (Photo from the preparation.) 

A. Skull bones. 

a. Membranes of the Brain. 

B. Cerebrum (cortex). 

C. Cerebellum. 

D. Medulla oblongata. 

E. Commencement of spinal cord. 

F. Spot where the cord is injured by the neck-stab. 

G. First vertebra (atlas) bent slightly downward. 



FIG. 2. The Brain, Medulla, and Spinal Cord in situ. (Horizontal section 
f rds of natural size.) 

A. Skull bones. E. Spinal cord (correspond- 
a. Membranes of the Brain. ing- to interval between 

B. Cerebrum (cortex). occipital bone and 

C. Cerebellum. atlas). 

D. Limit between medulla F. Condyloid process of oc- 

G. First vertebra (atlas). 
i. Spot where the cord is 

injured by the neck 


and spinal cord. 

cipital bone. 


During life the patient suffered only from paralysis of the right 
arm and occasional convulsions in the other extremities. At the 
post-mortem examination, however (the patient died from menin- 
gitis), it was ascertained that the brain had been pierced.* 
Instances resembling this, and cases even of complete recovery, 
are within the experience of every surgeon and veterinary surgeon, f 

After having fully convinced myself of the impossibility of an 
injury being inflicted on the medulla by the neck-stab, it remained 
only to watch in this method the symptoms subsequent to the stab. 
The last visit I paid to the slaughter-house established beyond all 
doubt that the ox remains fully conscious from the neck-stab until 
the bleeding. When I moved my fingers at a certain distance 
from its eyes the animal closed them energetically ; the same was 
the case when I lifted my fist. The respiratory movements of the 
nostrils continued, although they were very feeble. A few oxen 
stunned in this way licked off the salt from a piece of bread, and 
one of them, in the presence of witnesses, even did me the honour 
of accepting bread and salt from my hands. In short, my obser- 
vations led me to the conclusion that after having received the 
stab in the neck the animals remain in full possession of their con- 
sciousness and powers of feeling. 

From what precedes it is evident that the neck-stab cannot be 
regarded as a method of slaughter, but only as a means of felling the 
animal, and a means indeed not at all painless, but, on the contrary, 
causing the animal much torture. Viewed in the light of these 
facts, the case quoted in which a " killed " animal took bread and 
salt from my hands need excite no astonishment. I have clearly 
set forth the glaring faults of this method in my St. Petersburg 
papers, and need therefore not enter on a full discussion of them 
here. The above-described phenomena may be even better ob- 
served in the case of the dog, as little success as is obtained in the 
case of the ox following the attempt to pierce with a stab the 
medulla of this animal. On cutting away the skin and flesh from 
the back of the neck of the dog and dividing the spinal marrow 
between the occiput and the first cervical vertebra proceeding with 
the animal, in fact, as the slaughterman proceeds with the ox, we 
may soon observe that although we have inserted a finger between 

* Franz Konig, Surgery, p. 53. 

t Herman Tilman?, Chintrgie, p. 545. 


the severed portions to assure ourselves of their complete separa- 
tion, yet the animal has not totally lost consciousness. It sniffs at 
a piece of meat held close to it, and thrusts out its tongue to lick 
it. On the meat being held out to it the animal seizes it in its 
jaws as if to devour it. On a threatening fist being raised above it 
the animal shuts its eyes with fear, and when another animal, to 
which it has an antipathy, such as a cat, is brought near it, the 
dog gives visible signs of displeasure. When called by its name 
the animal answers by a look of intelligence, which seems to say 
" I hear." These phenomena cannot be regarded as reflex, they 
must have their origin in consciousness. The experiments on the 
dog prove that the emotional faculties of an animal brought down 
by this method of " neck -stab " do not desert it till long after it 
has been " killed." After the dog has been submitted to every 
step of the above operation he will nevertheless refuse to take meat 
from a man for whom he had a hatred, but is perfectly well able to 
distinguish his friends, and will accept the meat from them. 
Experiments with the dog in this condition can be extended over a 
period of two hours if its respiration be artificially maintained ; 
but even without artificial respiration the animal retains its con- 
sciousness for the space of about a minute.* Another little incident 
may be recorded here, as it serves to illustrate the superficiality 
with which the merits of the various methods of slaughter are 
judged, and how inconsiderately people, actuated by motives of 
humanity, but lacking any special knowledge of the subject, invent 
or commend methods which are in reality only calculated to add to 
the sufferings of the animal slaughtered. 

On October 9, 1893, I was in the laboratory of the Veterinary 
College at Berne engaged in a lively conversation with Professor 
Alfred Guillebeau of that college, the subject being the various 
slaughtering methods, when a Frenchman introduced himself to 
us as having invented a new machine with which the death of an 
animal could be caused " in a moment," through destruction of the 
medulla oblongata. This invention, it would seem, had been 
exhibited in Lausanne and the St. Gallen Canton before the 
members of the Animal Protection Societies there, these gentle- 

* These experiments were made by the Professor of Physiology, J. B. Pavloff. 
in the laboratory of the Military Academy of Medicine and Surgery of St. Peters- 
burg, in the presence of myself and many others. 


men being charmed with it, as the machine would not only 
instantaneously deprive an ox of consciousness, but was so 
effective that the animal would give no further sign of life. I 
examined the apparatus thoroughly, and soon convinced myself 
that it was nothing more than a convenient mechanical application 
of the method I knew so well, the " neck-stab." I nevertheless 
asked Professor Guillebeau to accompany the inventor and myself 
to the slaughter-house, for the purpose of testing the apparatus. 
This he kindly did, and the following was the result of the 

Two oxen were stabbed in the back of the neck by means of 
this " newly discovered " apparatus. The first, which received in 
addition several heavy blows on the head as a gratis supplement, 
naturally lay without life or movement as the result. The second, 
however, the operation on which had at my request been confined 
to the action of the apparatus, gave most unequivocal signs of 
life. On being threatened with the fist he closed his eyes in fear, 
and within a few moments made distinct attempts to get up, so 
that it became necessary to quiet him with a few blows of the 
axe. The examination of this animal's brain made by Professor 
Guillebeau and myself showed that the medulla had remained 
quite uninjured, the spinal marrow only being pierced, as my 
experiments in St. Petersburg had long before proved would be 
the case. 

It unquestionably follows from the above facts that this method 
of slaughter must be regarded as inflicting the most pain of all ; 
but apart from its humanitarian aspects, it possesses an enormous 
disadvantage in the matter of the keeping of the meat. In order 
to understand the reason of signs of decomposition appearing in 
the flesh of animals slaughtered by this method sooner than in 
flesh obtained by any other method, it must be remembered that 
the nerve centres known as the vasomotor centres, which regulate 
the dilatation and contraction of the bloodvessels, lie chiefly in the 
medulla and the cervical portion of the spinal cord. These centres 
keep the bloodvessels in a state of tension, through which the 
blood is expelled from them after the slaughtering of the animal. 
The injury to the spinal cord in the "neck-stab" method results 
in immediate paralysis of these centres and the vasomotor nerves, 
the blood being in consequence accumulated in the swelling veins. 


We know that the more blood meat contains the more rapidly 
will decomposition set in, it having been proved that the good 
keeping of meat depends upon the blood it contains. Schmidt- 
Miihheim, the well-known authority on matters of meat, therefore 
rightly remarks that " the flesh of animals properly killed should 
contain no blood whatever." * 

For butchers, and especially those butchers who are able to find 
a rapid sale for their wares, it is easily seen that this method is 
the most profitable. Not alone does it allow of an ox being killed 
with fewer men and less trouble, the stab in the neck rendering 
the most obstinate animal powerless, but it further much augments 
the butcher's profits, since he sells many pounds of quite worthless 
blood at the same price as the meat. 

7. Killing by Electricity. 

Trials were made in England and America of the above means 
of slaughter, but were soon abandoned, it being impossible to eat 
the meat produced. The method could besides with difficulty be 
regarded as a humane one, examined in the light of the repeated 
attempts made in America to execute criminals by this means. 

8. Anaesthesia by means of Narcotics. 

It only remains for us, in conclusion, to describe the attempts 
which have in some places been made to deprive the animal of 
consciousness by chloroforming or more generally narcotising it 
before the throat cutting, but this process, though intended to 
spare the animal the pains of death, does not present any advan- 
tages. Only recently an experiment of this kind, consisting in 
injecting morphia under the skin of the animal, was made at Berne, 
but it appears that the experimenters were not at all acquainted 
with the disastrous effects produced by the drug on herbivorous 
animals, though to us it need not cause any astonishment to learn 
that the first animal on which the experiment was made died 
almost immediately. The disadvantages of this process are not 
at all confined to this, however. It is troublesome and expensive, 
and has, moreover, a deteriorating effect on the quality of the 

* I have entered more fully into this question in the section dealing with my 
chemical examinations of meat. 


meat, which, besides having a wretched taste, is quite unwhole- 
some. I have myself been able to observe that the flesh of a 
narcotised animal had a poisonous effect on other animals which 
devoured it. In 1882, when I was in the laboratory of Professor 
Vulpian in Paris occupied with investigations on the nerve-centres 
for contractions of the uterus, I dosed some rabbits with chloral. 
The flesh of these rabbits was given by the attendant to some 
dogs and cats kept for experiments. The results were not slow in 
showing themselves, some of the dogs dying, while many of the 
cats were for a long time stupefied. 

Last winter experiments were made in Berne, Switzerland, to 
ascertain whether it was not possible to prevent the animal feeling 
any pain by introducing a certain quantity of alcohol into its system. 
Ten pints were required to stupefy one ox ! This is not the place 
to point out the absurdity of these proceedings, nor the con- 
demnation they deserve from a hygienic and economic, as well as 
a humanitarian, point of view ; the Society for the Protection of 
Animals there has already rightly put a stop to them. I will only 
add that for such a performance there is too little time in the 
slaughter-house, which is also scarcely the place in which it would 
be safe to keep large quantities of alcohol. 

On comparison of all the above described methods of slaughter- 
ing and stupefying with slaughter according to the Jewish ritual 
(shecheta), in which an extremely sharp knife is employed by a 
skilful and practised hand to simultaneously sever both arteries of 
the neck, producing immediate unconsciousness, and the strict 
carrying out of which as ordained is guaranteed by the fact that it 
constitutes one of the most sacred precepts of the Jewish religion, 
we must come to the conclusion that NOT ONE OF THE METHODS 


Even guillotining, which on a superficial examination would 
seem to be the best method, must, when all attendant circumstances 
are more closely considered, yield the superiority to the Jewish 
method, since apart from the difficulty of getting the animal's 
head properly into position and the impossibility of introducing 
the machine into small places, and passing over the serious 
economic difficulties * in guillotining the vasomotor centres 

* In Russia, taking into consideration only the damage to the animal's hides, 


situated in the cervical portion of the spinal column are of course 
cut, and the consequence is that the vasometer nerves are paralysed, 
and the outflow of blood seriously diminished. 

In the matter of the invention of new methods there exists, 
strange to say, a striking similarity between slaughtering and 
medicine. When in a case of a disease new and different methods 
of treatment are constantly being proposed, the best proof is 
afforded that none of them are of any great value. Such was the 
case with the hundreds of remedies and treatments recommended 
for the cholera, none of which in practice gave results worthy of 
mention. On the other hand, mercury, which in ancient times was 
resorted to as a remedy for syphilis, is prescribed even to-day for 
this disease, a proof that it is an efficacious remedy, and only 
requires to be rightly employed. Precisely the same thing is 
noticeable with regard to the different slaughtering methods. In 
the course of the last ten years the most diverse slaughtering appa- 
ratuses and methods have appeared, each of them heralded with 
loud trumpetings, only to be found useless in turn when tested at 
one place, and thrown aside until some other place took them up 
with just as much noise. This is true of the "neck-stab," as it is 
of the Bruneau mask, and Sigmund's shooting-mask. The Jewish 
method, on the other hand, has been practised for thousands of 
years, and is in use not only among the Jews, but also, as we shall 
later see, among many other peoples. There is no doubt that were 
a practical and painless method to be found, every butcher would 
hasten to avail himself of it. But what are the real facts of the 
case ? Each of these methods has been tried almost everywhere, 
each in turn thrown aside in favour of another, which latter in its 
turn has had to yield to a third, and so on. Such was the case, for 
instance, in Germany, where the " neck-stab," formerly so much in 
vogue, has long been replaced by the stunning method, the mask, 
and partly also by the Jewish method. In Russia,- on the other 
hand, the " neck-stab " was until quite recently so much in favour 
that the Congress of Societies for the Protection of Animals in 
1891 demanded its compulsory introduction everywhere; yet the 
investigations conducted by myself and the other members of the 

the yearly loss from this cause alone would amount, as I, with the assistance of 
experts, have calculated, to from twenty to twenty-five million roubles, while the 
introduction of the guillotine everywhere would be attended with enormous cost. 


" Commission for the Selection of the best Slaughtering Method," 
have conclusively shown this method to be the most cruel of all. 

I have spoken above of two categories of slaughtering methods. 
But now that we have acquired a more exact knowledge of them, 
we may confidently assert, that notwithstanding the many 
slaughtering metJwds which exist, there is but one way of killing 
that by Ucedwifj the fact being that in all the so-called methods the 
death of the animal does not result from the thrust, blow, &c., 
forming the distinctive feature of the method, for respiration and 
the heart's action continue afterwards, but is in truth caused by 
the subsequent bleeding. The operations previous to this serve 
only to get the animal down, and to ensure the safety of the butcher, 
as he can then proceed with more convenience and less risk to lay 
hand on his victim. But this end could be attained in a much less 
cruel manner. However unpleasant the getting down and tying 
may be for the animal, it nevertheless can by no means be com- 
pared, even in the primitive fashion in which it is at present prac- 
tised in small places, with the fearful torture the animal suffers 
through the repeated blows on the head, the driving of the Bruneau 
bolt into the skull, &c. It can be easily proved that the getting 
down is not attended with such great pain to the animal as the 
opponents of the Jewish method with their affecting descriptions 
would have us believe ; for how often do we see that horses as well 
as oxen which have fallen on a newly paved road, certainly no less 
hard than a slaughter-house floor, get up and proceed on their way 
as quietly as before, having sustained no injury whatever. And if 
the getting down can at all be regarded as cruelty to the animal, 
then this cruelty is committed by many veterinary surgeons when 
they have to perform on a large animal an operation which abso- 
lutely requires it to be in a recumbent position. Lastly, an appa- 
ratus could be found which by fulfilling all requirements for laying 
an animal down, would do away with all objections on this score. 

One of the most active agitators against the Jewish method of 
slaughter told me that, acting for the Berlin Society for the Pro- 
tection of Animals, he had already circulated more than four million 
leaflets against the Jewish method among the public. If the 
Berlin Society really desires to alleviate the sufferings of animals, 
it should set aside the money expended on the printing and 
distribution of these leaflets to be offered as a reward for the 


discovery of a suitable apparatus for placing an animal on its side, 
and I am convinced that the problem of finding one would soon be 
solved. Nay, the Jewish community in Berlin would, I firmly 
believe, have offered a large reward itself for this purpose, if the 
Society had approached it on the subject. These animal protectors 
should take example by their Russian colleagues, who have pro- 
ceeded much more rationally in this matter. The Russian Central 
Animal Protection Society, as we have repeatedly remarked, 
appointed a commission of physiologists and veterinary surgeons 
to select the best slaughtering method. Among the members of 
this Commission, of whom I was one, were several who at first 
were passionate opponents of the Jewish method, but after exhaus- 
tive discussions of theories, during nine full sittings of several 
hours each, and, above all, after a detailed study of the question in 
the slaughter-house itself, the Commission drew up a resolution 
that the Jewish method in itself cannot in any way be regarded as 
violating the laws of humanity. Half the members of the Com- 
mission even gave the Jewish the preference to any other. On the 
21st of March, 1893, on the very same day, by an irony of fate, on 
which in the preceding year the Administration in Saxony had, at 
the instance of the Veterinary Commission of that country, " sup- 
pressed the Jewish method as barbarous " (the 21st of March, 1892), 
the above conclusions were summed up in the Report of the Com- 
mission, to which the members and the vice-president of the 
Society who presided attached their signatures. The Russian 
Society then, after the information supplied by the Commission 
had proved the Jewish method to be in itself a good one, turned 
its attention to the matter of finding a suitable laying-down appa- 
ratus. But it soon appeared that even these exertions were super- 
fluous, for such an apparatus has long existed for use in surgical 
operations on cattle, and was described by Hering as early as 1866, 
in his " Handbook of Operations in Veterinary Surgery," under the 
title of " Laying-down Apparatus, after Gurlt and Hertwig."* 
The following is a description of how this method is practised : 
" At one end of a rope, about fifteen yards long, a noose is made 
which is slipped over the horns of the animal to be laid down ; the 
rope is then drawn back over the neck, in the middle of which a 

* See Handbuch der Thierartlichen Operationslehre, by Edward von Hering, 
Stuttgart, 1866, p. 25. 



second noose is formed, with the slip upwards ; the rope is then 
run along the backbone of the animal, and a third noose made in 
the same manner just behind the fore-legs, round the chest, and a 
fourth round the belly in front of the hind legs, the end of the rope 
being held in a line with the spinal column and pulled to the right 
to make the animal fall to the left, and vice versd. This end is 
pulled by two men, a third standing at the animal's head if it is 
not bound. The pulling tightens all three nooses, and the animal 
in a few moments lies down gently and quietly on its side, and 
stretches out its feet, which can now be fastened in the usual 
manner. By rubbing the slipping parts of the nooses with soap or 
tallow, the friction is diminished and the work more easily done." 

FIG. 3. 

In Russia, to avoid further attacks on the Jewish mode of 
killing, the following modifications were introduced into this 
laying-down method : (1) instead of the three nooses described, 
only two, which are quite sufficient, are made, those round the chest 
and belly, because when a noose is also made round the neck the 
ox snorts loudly in being laid down, and this snorting, caused by 
the compression of the windpipe by the rope, makes an unpleasant 
impression on the onlookers, and might easily serve as the ground 
for fresh attacks ; (2) a somewhat shorter rope is used, and the 
greasing with soap or tallow is dispensed with as unnecessary. 

Very recently a further improvement was, at my suggestion, 
made in this method in several Russian slaughter-houses, by 
making a ring in the rope about three-quarters of a yard from 


the noose round the horns. Through this ring the free end of the 
rope is passed to make the noose round the chest, the rope 
tightening then with much less difficulty. 

I think it advisable to reproduce here in full the passage in the 
Commission's Report,* dealing with the experiments made with 
this apparatus : 

" LAYING-DOWN METHOD, exhibited in practice before the 
Members of the Commission, November 30, 1892, in the St. 
Petersburgh slaughter-house. 

"Among the experiments in slaughtering carried out by the 
veterinary surgeon Peterson in the slaughter-house court was the 
trial on five oxen of a method of laying-down similar to that 
described by Gurlt and Hertwig. There were present at this 
experiment Mag. Vet. Sci. N. J. Eckert and M. A. Ignatyeff, 
vet. surgeons Sawai'toff, Sergeyeff, Dedyulin, and Sewitzky, 
slaughter-house inspector Maksimow, P. P. Shuwosky, head of 
the Russian Societies for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and at 
the last trial the President of the Society, P. W. Shukowsky. 

"The laying-down gear consisted of a strong rope, about two 
yards long and of the thickness of a finger, one end of which was 
formed into a running noose. 

" The animals on which trial was to be made were each in turn 
tied to a post in the court of the slaughter-house. The noose in 
the rope was slipped over their horns and the rope itself drawn 
straight along the back in a line with the spine as far as the fore- 
legs, immediately behind which another noose was made, slip 
upwards, encircling the chest of the animal ; the rope was then 
again drawn back to the hind-legs, in front of which a fresh noose 
round the animal's belly was made. Two men then took hold of 
the remaining length of rope and pulled, and tightening the 
nooses in this fashion, they soon brought the animal down. 

" Only a few seconds passed in each case before the ox's fore- 
legs sank under it, and the animal then lay quietly down on its- 
side. This method permits of the animal being brought down on 
its right or left side, as the butcher may require, and one experi- 
ment proved that it may be applied with equal success in the 
slaughter-house itself or in the court. 

"The members of the Commission who were present at these 

* Bulletin de la /Societe Eusse Protectrice des Animaux, 1893, No. 7, p. 195. 


experiments unanimously acknowledged that this method of 
laying down was a convenient and practical one, and, above all, 
that it was well adapted to replace the usual mode of preparing 
an ox for slaughter by the Jewish method." 

The St. Petersburg Society, the leading Eussian Society for the 
Protection of Animals, having now found this method of laying down 
an animal to be an " easy " and " gentle " one, immediately took the 
measures necessary to secure its introduction into all slaughter- 
houses in Russia where the Jewish method is in vogue, and its 
efforts in this direction have in many cases been successful. 
Recently the Society addressed itself to the Ministry of the Interior 
desiring the introduction of this laying-down method to be made 
compulsory when the Jewish mode of killing is employed. But 
independently of this the Society did more. In its sitting of 
May 1 893, it resolved to offer a reward of 300 roubles (about 30) 
for the invention of a still better laying-down apparatus, and 
nominated an investigation committee of four Members, Mag. 
Vet. Sci. N. Eckert and Ignatyeff, Vet. Sci. Peterson, and 
myself.* Only six months have elapsed since then, and I have 
already in my possession several dozen models and designs of 
laying-down apparatuses, which have been sent to me from all 
parts of Russia, Germany, and England. To console and pacify 
those sentimental protectors of animals who would fain see the 
Jewish method suppressed because of the bad method of getting 
the animal down, I may already say that some of the models under 
consideration really guarantee treatment of the animal more than 
humane and more fitly described as tender. 

I have unfortunately not the right to give a detailed description 
of these methods here, as the committee have not yet brought 
their investigations to an end, and the methods are private pro- 
perty. I will publish the descriptions as soon as the committee 
have finished their labours. 

I have besides seen some very good methods and apparatuses in 
some of the German slaughter-houses I have visited. The best of 
these I would point out as one the working of which was exhibited 
before me by Herr Stern in the slaughter-house at Fulda. This 
apparatus lays the animal down and at the same instant binds its 
feet, but it can only be used in slaughter-houses where a windlass 

* See Bulletin de la Socittt Busse Protectrice des Animaux, for May 1893. 



is to be found, while the Gurlt and Hertwig method, for which 
the only requisite is a rope some twelve yards long, can easily be 
made use of everywhere. 

Excellent apparatuses have also recently been found for getting 
the animal's head into position. Such, for instance, are the head- 
holders of Jacob, Thieleman, &c. 

It is quite clear from what has been said, that the question of 
laying-down can be solved under very favourable conditions for 
the animal. And were the method chosen fraught with ever so 
much trouble to the butcher, it would nevertheless be impossible 
on this account to justify the tortures inflicted on the animal by 
striking it five or six blows on the head in one method, and by as 
bad or worse cruelties in another, all of them serving only to get 
the animal down. Much less could this be made a reason for 
banishing the only rational method of killing from th^ slaughter- 

That the advantages of the Jewish method of slaughter are in 
no wise impaired by the method of laying-down at present 
practised is proved, apart from the scientific proof above adduced, 
by the fact that whole peoples and States adopt the method with- 
out being influenced by either religious or extraneous reasons. 
This is the case in Bulgaria, in most Oriental countries, in the 
State of New York, &c., it having been adopted in the last- 
named place at the recommendation of the Animal Protection 

During the sitting of March 27, 1893, of the Swiss National 
Council, a report was read from the Swiss consul in America to 
his Government, in which occurred the passage : 

" During the last few years, slaughtering as ordained by the 
Mosaic Law, i.e., ' shecheta,' has found its way into the Christian 
slaughter-houses here, it being the most rapid mode of killing and in 
full harmony with the spirit of the Animal Protection Societies' 
Regulations, which aim at the prevention of all cruelty to animals."* 

The report of the Swiss consul in St. Petersburg, Herr Dupont, 
also came up for reading during the same sitting, in which he in- 
formed his Government of the resolution of the Committee for the 
Selection of the Best Slaughtering Method, which had been com- 

* See Amlliches StenographiscJies Bulletin der Schweizerischen Hundesversammlung. 
Sitting of the 28th March, 1893, p. 448, 


municated to him by Kammerherr Shukoffski, President of the 
Russian Central Society for the Protection of Animals : 

" Almost all the members have recognised," said the report, " that 
' shecheta ' is a method of slaughter which causes the animal very 
little suffering." * 

An. Timoftiowiz, Director of the Veterinary Department of the 
Bulgarian Board of Public Health, and Member of the Supreme 
Medical Council, in a communication dated November 16th, 1893 
writes as follows : 

" In Bulgaria, butchers of the most diverse religious persuasions 
kill everywhere by the throat-cutting method. This mode of 
killing is also to my personal knowledge in vogue in the neigh- 
bouring countries. In my opinion it will long remain in favour in 
Bulgaria, and will perhaps become permanent there if no more 
commendable method be found than the felling method, the 
mask, &c." 

Professor D. Illoway, Cincinnati, America, communicates the 
interesting fact that in several States of the American Union, as, 
for instance, in Nebraska and Idaho, petitions for the compulsory 
introduction of the Jewish method have been addressed to the 
authorities by various societies for the protection of animals. 

Nay, in Germany itself, in spite of the vigorous war waged 
against it by the Animal Protection Societies, the method finds 
favour in the eyes of many Christian butchers, who use it to their 
own advantage. 

When making investigations in the Berlin Central Cattle 
Market, I noted that in some slaughtering places the ordinary 
method of killing by means of stunning was set aside in favour of 
that by means of a direct cut through the arteries of the neck with 
a long and broad knife. This operation was performed by a 
Christian, and I therefore could not suppose that the meat was 
intended for Jewish consumption. In order, then, to ascertain the 
reason of these butchers choosing, unlike their fellow tradesmen, 
to slaughter by this method and whether the advantages they viewed 
it as possessing were humanitarian or economic, I wrote to them, 
requesting them to communicate their reasons, and received the 
following replies : 

* See Amtliclies Stenographisclies Bulletin der Schweizerischen Bundesversammlwig. 
Sitting of the 28th March, 1893, p. 448. 


"BEBLIN, E., Sept. 28, 1893. 

" To Dr. D. DEMBO, 

" DEAR Sm, In reply to your esteemed letter of the 22nd inst., 
I beg to make the following replies to your questions : 

" 1. Why I employ the Jewish slaughtering method? Firstly, 
because it combines the most humane treatment of the animal 
with the greatest safety in killing it. The ' shecheta ' cut is in- 
disputably the most rapid and safe mode of slaughtering. The 
fact that the cut is made with a sharp and good knife which occa- 
sions no swelling of the arteries and allows a great outflow of blood 
to take place in a few seconds, shows this to be the most rapid and 
at the same time least painful mode of slaughtering, for the sharper 
the instrument the less painful the cut. Stunning is attended 
with much more danger and too often with much more pain to the 
animal. It often, when the hand which carries it out is not a 
thoroughly practised one, results in torture to the animal. The 
slightest movement of the head by the animal at the moment of 
striking will cause the blow to fall wrong, the most skilful 
slaughterman being unable to prevent this, and no matter whether 
the ill-falling blow cause the animal pain or whether it be only 
frightened and excited to movement by it, the result in any case is 
that the killing is protracted and made more difficult. 

" Viewed from the standpoint of economy, the stunning method 
is unquestionably more advantageous to me as a wholesale butcher, 
for every stunned animal yields a greater weight of meat ; this is 
because the blood remains stagnant in the veins as the result of 
the blows, and when the arteries are afterwards cut the blood flows 
out very slowly, the total lo^s of blood being always less than in 
the case of throat-cutting direct and the weight of meat conse- 
quently greater. But the consideration of the few pounds of meat 
less in the Jewish method is many times outweighed by its 

" Hygienic Advantages. 

" Every animal stunned and then cut must afterwards be washed, 
especially in the cavity of the chest, with pure water. But it is 
well-known that water has the worst possible effect on meat, 
especially during the hot summer months, when a great deal of meat 
spoils through this washing. The part of the meat with which the 


water has come in contact will soon develop qualities distinguish- 
ing it from the rest, for it is a nutrient soil for fungi, and its 
spoiling is in consequence much hastened. The meat of animals 
killed in any way with blows is also much darker and always softer 
than that of cut animals, the flesh of which is in every case light in 
colour, free from blood, and firm. Every animal killed by the 
cutting method is clean in the cavity of the chest and there is no 
need to touch the flesh there or elsewhere with water. The flesh 
of cut animals is quite as firm in two hours as that of stunned or 
felled animals in ten, and the latter indeed never attains the firm- 
ness of the former. 

" I am myself not a Jew, but, as is well-known in Berlin, I have 
for the last fifteen years had just the same instrument used for 
killing as the Jewish ' shochet ' or slayer. I buy and kill exclu- 
sively good cattle. I have during these years weighed many 
animals when alive and their meat when dead, to ascertain the pro- 
portion of meat yielded by the different methods, and I have 
repeatedly proved to the cleverest and most experienced men in 
the trade, that the flesh of cut animals keeps much longer than 
that of stunned. My title to credit is furnished by the fact that as 
a wholesale butcher, I have for the last fifteen years brought meat 
to the market exclusively for old and regular customers, thorough 
experts in their business ; I have also for the last nine years supplied 
meat to the Berlin Municipality. Such a result could only be 
attained by my supplying a steadily good quality of meat, that has 
further received careful handling. That confidence is placed in my 
ability to judge of cattle is proved by the fact that I have for many 
years past acted as judge in the Berlin Prize Cattle Show. I do 
not speak for my method in the interests of any party. I am ready 
at any time to furnish scientific authorities with proof of what I 
have said. I remain, faithfully yours, 

" Wholesale Butcher. 

"Member of the Berlin Society for the Protection of Ani- 
mals, Member of the Sanitary Board for the 66th 
Police District, Berlin, Sworn Expert to the Berlin 
Butchers' Guild." 


" BEKLIN, Sept. 27, 1893. 
" To Dr. J. DEMBO, 

" DEAR SIR, In answer to your letter of the 22nd inst., I beg to 
furnish you below with the reasons which induce me to have oxen, 
those for non-Jewish consumpton also, slaughtered by the Jewish 
method of severing the arteries of the neck : 

" 1. An ox slaughtered by this method loses more blood, and the 
meat has a better appearance. 

" 2. The meat keeps in summer at least a day longer than that 
of oxen killed by stunning, &c., and afterwards bled. 

" I have employed this method for about fifteen years, having 
found as a butcher that cutting the throat of cattle deprives them 
of life as quickly as does felling them or killing them by a thrust 
or stab. Yours faithfully, 

" Wholesale Butcher, Berlin, Phdrst., 58." 

We may also notice among testimonials given as far back as 
1884, the following : * 

" COLOGNE, Nov. 3, 1884. 

" The undersigned butchers of Cologne, of the Christian faith, 
hereby declare, as the result of many years' experience and obser- 
vation, that the flesh of animals slaughtered according to Jewish 
ritual keeps from one to two days longer in the summer than that 
of animals killed by any other method, in consequence of the more 
thorough draining-off of the blood. 





The master-butchers of Carlsruhe expressed themselves in the 
following terms : 

"The undersigned Christian butchers of Carlsruhe hereby 
declare that they give the old methods of slaughter the prefer- 
ence to the new (shooting mask, &c.). 

* See Testimonials to the Advantages of the Jewish Method of Slaughter. 


" Although the Society for the Protection of Animals have set a 
premium on the use of the shooting mask, yet it is employed in 
but a few rare instances, the method having proved to be one not 
practical, and which further is fraught with great suffering to the 

" The good appearance and superior keeping qualities of the meat 
produced ~by ' shecheta ' commend this method, which owes its advan- 
tages to its completely emptying of blood the body of the animal. 







When I visited the abattoir in Cologne on the 22nd of May of this 
year, I was able to convince myself that the Jewish method is 
exclusively employed by many Christian butchers, who indeed pro- 
ceed entirely in the Jewish fashion. The same is the case in many 
slaughter-houses in the Rheinish provinces. We may mention also 
that many preserved meat manufacturers (as those in Mayence, &c.), 
use the Jewish method in order to obtain meat with better keeping 

After the exhaustive discussion to which the humane side of the 
question has been submitted in the preceding section, we may thus 
conclude : the killing of a living creature is per se to some extent 
an immorality, to be excused only in view of the requirements of 
our stomach, and in an immoral action the ideal is not to be sought. 
We may, however, say that everywhere, in village and town, alike 
for large cattle and small, the Jewish method can with equal facility 
be employed, without the necessity for any costly contrivances, for 
every one can easily procure a sharp knife and will know how to 
use it, while with stunning the most skilful hand is not, and indeed 
cannot, be sure of not going wrong. We must then acknowledge 
that the Jewish method is the best. NAY, WITH REGARD TO ITS 




Table of the Slaughtering Methods employed in the Chief 
Slaughter-houses of Europe* 

Slaughtering Methods. 



Calves and 






Stunning with 

Direct bleed- 

a. In one slaughtering 

fracture of 

ing without 

compartment only (be- 

skull by 


longing to Bruneau) 




(No. 47) is the mask of 



or Jewish 

Bruneau employed. 



6. Calves and sheep 


are placed by tens on a 

board and slaughtered 

one after the other. 





or Jewish 




Stunning with 


Those slaughterers 

the mallet 

who collect the blood 

without frac- 

for the manufacture of 

turing the 

albumen use the trans- 

skull. In some 

fixion, the others the 

slaughter com- 

Jewish method. 

partments the 


Jewish method. 



The mask of 

Stunning with 



the mallet. 




the Maine. 

Stunning with 
the mallet. 

Calves by 

sheep by 

the Jewish 





In the slaughter-house 


of the Meat Preserve 


Jewish method. 


Factory, the Jewish 


method is in use. 

* a. I have noticed here only the chief slaughter-houses of Europe, which I 
have visited personally, but there are many smaller places, as, e.g., in the Khine 
Provinces, where the Jewish method is in employ for large cattle. 

&. In many States of America the Jewish method is exclusively employed 
for large cattle. 

c. In many places, e.g., in Naples, the small cattle are hung up on hooks by 
their hind legs and slaughtered in that position, so that the blood may be more 
easily caught up. 



Table of the Slaughtering Methods employed in the Chief 
Slaughter-houses of Europe- (continued). 

Slaughtering Methods. 






Calves and 




St. Petersburg, 



Before the investiga- 

Moscow, and 


tions of the Commission 



other large 

the neck-stab was re- 


abattoirs in 

garded as the ideal 



method of slaughter. 



Jewish method. 





Stunning with 

Stunning with 

The shooting mask of 

mallet, also 


Sigmund was used, but 

mask of 

abandoned as ineffec- 






Partly non- 









Shooting mask, 


partly stunning 





Stunning w 

ith mallet. 



Mallet and 



Stunning with 


In the army slaughter- 



house the neck-stab is 






1 have never seen the 



neck-stab employed in 


so cruel a fashion as at 



Neck- stab and 





OF all the tissues of the body, the blood is known to be the 
" youngest " and the least stable one, that is, a tissue which decom- 
poses very early. But as long as it is contained within the walls of 
the tubes of the blood system i.e., as long as it flows within the 
bloodvessels the blood remains unaltered. It is not the place 
here for a theoretical examination and explanation of this pheno- 
menon, whether it be due to the influence the living elements of 
the walls exercise on the composition of the blood or to any other 
cause. At any rate, it is a well-known fact, that if the blood leaves 
the vessels, or if the body in which it is contained dies, the blood 
soon congeals and begins to decompose. Now it is obvious that the 
more blood there is left in the meat, the sooner the meat will become 
spoiled this connection between the quantity of the blood and the 
preservation of the meat being an incontestable scientific axiom. 
It is for this reason that those who have special knowledge in the 
matter of meat prefer, as far as hygiene and good quality are con- 
cerned, the method of slaughter which leaves the least quantity of 
Hood in the meat to any other. 

It could be assumed a priori, without any practical examination 
and for theoretical reasons only, that the Jewish method is the 
one which leaves least blood in the body, since during the whole 
time of bleeding the nerve-centres regulating the flow of the blood 
in the vessels are not interfered with. Whereas in the case of stun- 
ning, and particularly in the case of the neck-stab with injury to 
the spinal cord, as in all other methods depending for their effect 
upon an injury to the brain, the case is different altogether, since, 
as Koch, Filehne, Wittkowsky and others have proved scientifically, 
destruction of the brain causes paralysis of the vasomotor centres, 
and this paralysis in its turn would entail a stoppage of the blood 


within the bloodvessels. But in view of the importance of this 
point I could not and would not rest satisfied with conclusions, 
based in this manner, on theoretical argument only, but deemed it 
necessary to gain a more solid base for my contentions by experi- 
ments on animals. 

I intend publishing a detailed paper on the results of these ex- 
periments with the necessary chemical formulae in a periodical 
devoted to these branches of science, whilst in this publication, 
which is intended not for specialists only, but also for laymen 
interested in this question, I shall endeavour to avoid all chemical 
formulae and all detailed discussion of matters that would be 
intelligible only to those conversant with physiological chemistry. 

There is, in truth, no task more difficult than that of explaining 
chemical processes to readers not acquainted with the science, and 
therefore it is necessary for me, in order to render the following 
pages more intelligible, to make here a few introductory remarks 
on the physical and chemical properties of the muscle of an animal 
during life as well as after death. 


The flesh of animals that we use as food consists chiefly of muscle. 
Every muscle is built up of bundles, which in turn are composed 
of larger or shorter muscular fibres arranged parallel to each other. 
A primitive muscular fibre, as seen microscopically, consists of a 
sheath, called the sarcolemma, in which is enclosed a contractile 
substance the muscle-plasma. This latter substance is chiefly 
composed of an albuminous body, myosin, which is also the most 
important nutritive element contained in meat. Myosin is soluble 
in strong solutions of common salt (10 per cent, or more), in free 
alkalies or strong acids (lactic, hydrochloric acid), and also in a 13 
per cent, solution of ammonia. 

The muscles of animals that have just been slaughtered exhibit 
very lively contractions, which can be seen by the unaided eye. The 
colour of muscle is mostly dark red, but that of some animals, such 
as the rabbit and the pig, is of a paler hue. At death, in man 
and animal alike, certain processes take place in the body ; the 
muscles become hard and of a duller colour, and the joints stiff. 
This condition of the dead body is called the rigor mortis or death 


rigidity. The stiffness of the muscles (rigor) is the result of the 
coagulation of the contractile albuminous body in the muscles, 
myosin. If one of these rigid muscles be cut, a fluid, called 
muscle-serum, oozes out, which is that part of muscle substance or 
muscle-plasma that has remained liquid after the coagulation. 
Whilst the muscles in the living body have either a neutral or an 
alkaline reaction, a certain time after death i.e., at the commence- 
ment of the rigor mortis their reaction becomes acid.* 

The reaction of the muscles, as we shall later see, depends 
upon the method of slaughter and the more or less rapid outflow 
of the blood and, being either acid or neutral, greatly influences 
the commencement of the rigor mortis ; meat which is already in 
a state of decomposition is, on the other hand, alkaline in its 

The muscles remain in a state of rigor a certain time, which 
varies from one to several days, the period depending on the sur- 
rounding temperature, the degree of moisture, the access of air and 
other conditions. At freezing-point, for instance, and with com- 
plete exclusion of air, meat may resist putrefaction and even be 
preserved in a good condition for thousands of years. An instance 
of this may be seen in the case of the prehistoric mammoth, the 
body of which, with the flesh untouched, was found in the ice of 
the Lena River in Siberia. The method of slaughter, besides, has 
not only an unquestionable influence upon the commencement of 
the rigor, but also on its duration. As soon as decomposition 
sets in the rigor disappears and the joints become movable again. 
The phenomenon of the rigor mortis mainly depends upon the ap- 

* Every liquid and every chemical body may have an acid reaction or an alka- 
line, or a reaction that is neither acid nor alkaline i.e., neutral. For distinguish- 
ing the reaction strips of different test-papers are used, as litmus-paper, litmoid, 
&c. Each of these papers show different changes under the action of alkalies 
and acids. Most in use are the red and the blue litmus-papers. If a strip of red 
litmus-paper is immersed in some acid liquid, the colour does not change at all, 
but when dipped into an alkaline solution it immediately turns blue. On the 
contrary, blue litmus-paper is not changed by alkaline fluids, but turns red if 
dipped into an acid liquor. In a liquid of neutral reaction neither the red test- 
paper nor the blue one will change their colour. Thus, in these two sorts of 
litmus test-papers we have an excellent means of ascertaining the true reaction 
of a liquid or any other chemical body, provided they are well prepared and do 
not lead to mistakes and faulty results. But we shall see later on that in testing 
the reaction of meat with litmus-paper certain precautionary measures must be 
taken lest we be led into grave errors. 


pearance in the muscles of lactic acid, which causes the albuminous 
body niyosin to coagulate. Lactic acid is, therefore, also a factor 
of importance in the fitness of the meat for table ; for only after 
the appearance of lactic acid [and the setting in of the rigor 
does the meat become edible, tender and more easily disgestible. 
Further, when the muscle is rigid and acid in reaction, it will be 
sufficient to boil it at a moderate temperature, from 140 to 158 
Fall, to convert the connective tissue into jelly. On the contrary, 
meat taken immediately after slaughtering and before the begin- 
ning of the rigor is tasteless, and so tough that it can hardly be 

Thus, the sooner death-rigidity sets in, the greater will be the 
space of time during which the meat will be free from taint and 
fit for use. This fact, a very noteworthy one, and for reasons we 
shall explain later on, is fraught with most important consequences 
for provincial butchers. Thus, all these circumstances that favour 
an earlier commencement and a longer duration of the rigidity of 
the meat are of essential importance for the public health. 

The rigor of the muscle can be produced and influenced 

(a.) By heat (" heat-rigor "). 

(&.) By soaking the meat in distilled water (" water-rigor "). 

(c.) By the appearance of acidity in the muscle, either caused by 
some acid that is being formed there or by the combination of salts 
with acids: lactates, phosphates, &c. 

The process of inducing rigor in the meat by warming it or 
dipping it into distilled water, cannot be otherwise than ruinous 
for the quality of the meat, as these agents, heat or water, are both 
of them very deleterious, for they promote a very early decom- 
position. On the other hand, the formation of lactic acid is not 
only not injurious to the meat but even protects it from putrefaction 
quite apart from its above-mentioned property of rendering it more 
tender and tasty. 

After having remained in the rigid state for a certain time the 
muscle (or the dead body) enters into another condition, called 
" the solution of the rigor." Meanwhile putrefaction makes its 
first appearance, and the muscle, though still acid in reaction, be- 
comes soft again. 

* Vide Handbuch des Fleischbeschau fur Thierarzte und Bichter, von Prof. R. 
Ostertag, Stuttgart, 1892. 


The point of time at which death-rigidity begins to disappear 
varies greatly in different animals,* and is dependent upon many 
conditions, as temperature, moisture, ventilation, &c., and also upon 
the method of slaughter, as we shall later prove. 

From what I have said it is clear that from the point of view of 
hygiene and economy the preference ought to be given to that 
method of slaughter in which rigidity sets in earliest and passes off 
and gives way to putrefaction last.t 

This consideration prompted me to experiment with a view to 
ascertaining the exact time of the beginning of death-rigidity in 
animals slaughtered by direct bleeding i.e., according to the rules 
of shecheta to determine the same moment in cases where stunning 
preceded the bleeding, and to compare the results obtained in both 
instances; further, to state exactly the time when the rigidity 
passes off and is followed by putrefaction in the various methods of 
killing. A scientific investigation into these questions seemed to 
me to be an urgent necessity seeing that the opinions of laymen 
widely differ on this point. Whilst many wholesale butchers and 
even butcher-guilds declare that the meat of animals slaughtered 
without previous stunning keeps under equal conditions much 
longer as much as two days even in summer others, and amongst 
them the members of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to 
Animals, contend that in the Jewish method the meat decomposes 
sooner. Such a discrepancy of statements finds its only explana- 
tion in the fact that no scientific experiments had until then been 
undertaken for comparison and elucidation of these points. 

With regard to the first question, the onset of death-rigidity in 
the various methods of slaughter, no difficulty of any kind was 
encountered in its solution, as a galvanic apparatus for induced 
currents was the only thing required for the examination. It is a 
known fact that during life and for some time after death a muscle 
contracts if stimulated by an electric current, + and in a physio- 
logical sense the muscles may be regarded as dead only after they 

* In man the rigor lasts one to six days. 

t I have found in the course of my experiments that the solution of rigidity 
and the beginning of putrefaction are not always identical. 

+ The same effect can be produced also by other stimuli, as friction with the 
finger and ever by a current of cold air. That is the reason why sometimes, 
when the parts of the divided carcass are hung up, there are yet to be seen con- 
tractions of entire groups of muscles, strongly resembling spontaneous movements. 


have ceased to answer with contractions to a galvanic stimulus 
i.e., after the function of the nerves has ceased. The moment in 
which this happens is also the exact time of onset of the death- 

Technical difficulties, but mainly the consideration that the 
electric current has a deleterious effect upon the taste of meat and 
even its fitness for food, caused me to refrain from experimenting 
on slaughtered oxen and to make use of other material. I con- 
sidered myself justified in doing so, because it really matters 
nothing whether the experiments are carried out on the dead 
bodies of oxen or on those of dogs or rabbits, since no one denies 
that the muscles of man, cattle, dogs or rabbits undergo precisely 
the same changes on the passage through them of electric 

I may be permitted to again repeat here that I abstain from 
quoting many more experiments of the same nature that I have 
carried out unaided. I shall only record here those investigations 
undertaken and carried out in the presence of other specialists. 
The experiments were carried out in the laboratory of the Veter- 
inary High School of Berlin. On December 15th, 1893, three 
rabbits were taken, and one of them slaughtered by dividing the 
arteries of the neck with a knife that is used by the shochet or 
slayer for killing large fowl ; the second rabbit was stunned and 
then slaughtered in the usual way, the third also stunned and then 
bled by dividing the arteries of the neck. After this all three 
rabbits were placed on a table, the same group of muscles in each 
of them laid open, and with the electrodes of the induced current 
tested for contractility. The results of this experiment are stated 
in the following table : 



TABLE II. The Onset of Rigor Mortis. 


and Sex of 


Method of 

Time at 

Result of 


Onset of 


2000 grin. 


Division of 

1.05 p.m. 



1 hour 


grey buck. 



tion only 


10 min. 

sels of neck 

with O.f 



1.15 p.m. 

No con- 



1850 grm. 



1.20 p.m. 



2 hours 


grey buck. 



tion with 


35 min. 




2.50 p.m. 



tion with 

used in 



3.00 p.m. 


tion with 


3.15 p.m. 

No con- 


1.25 p.m. 


tion with 



1950 grm. 



1.32 p.m. 



1 hour 

grey doe. 



tion with 


55 min. 



and then 

1.55 p.m. 


Jewish cut). 

tion with 


2.05 p.m. 


tion with 


2.15 p.m. 

No con- 


* Twenty-six seconds after the cut the physiologists who witnessed the experi- 
ment were able to state that the animal had lost all its eye-reflexes, the visual 
reflexes as well as the tactile. 

t The strength of the current is indicated on the apparatus by numbers, the 
current being strongest at 0, less so at 1, and decreasing as the numbers go on. 

Note. As all of us were busy witnessing the slaughtering and the weighing of 
the rabbits one after another, before and after the bleeding (for the purpose of 
ascertaining the true amount of bleeding in the different methods), we could not 
commence the galvanic examination of the muscles before 1.05 p.m. 

The widely-spread notion that the rigor begins at the head of the animal has 


It is rather difficult to state with certainty whether the epilepti- 
form convulsions or the variable quantity of blood remaining in 
the muscles, or both these factors united, are responsible for the 
earlier or later appearance of the rigor mortis. I myself think that 
among many other reasons it is the epileptiform convulsions, often 
observed with the Jewish method of slaughter, that help to accele- 
rate the onset of rigidity. For a similar reason game that had been 
hunted to death gets rigid in a few minutes. Even in fish the 
rigor sets in earlier and is the more severe the stronger and more 
active the muscles have been before death.* But I shall have 
to return to a more full consideration of the reasons why the 
rigor begins earlier in one method than in another further on in 
this publication. 

The preceding table also shows how great is the difference in 
the time of onset of the rigor i.e., the time when the muscle 
dies, even in the case of such small animals as rabbits, whose 
weight of about 2000 grm. amounts approximately only to ^-j^-th 
part of that of an ox, and the total amount of blood in whose body 
amounts to only T Vth part of the body-weight, whilst in oxen it 
amounts to T ^th. Thus, these experiments have served to fully 
confirm the experience of practical butchers, that the meat (muscles) 
of animals, and even small animals, which are slaughtered without pre- 
vious stunning, becomes rigid sooner than that of stunned animals. 

Mr. Hoffmann, a wholesale butcher in Berlin, who probably has 
never studied the physiology of muscle, but who is able to form a 
clear estimate of things, justly remarks in a letter addressed to the 
author : " The meat of cut cattle i.e., cut according to the rules 
of shecheta is just as firm in two hours as the meat of those 
slaughtered with a previous blow on the head becomes in ten hours. 
The latter, as a matter of fact, never attains the firmness and 
compactness of the sJiecheta meat." 

Coming now to the examination of the time at which the rigor 
ceases, no apparatus whatever is needed for this purpose; the renewed 
flexibility of the joints affords every one a means of ascertaining 
it. The time of the relaxation depends upon the temperature of 

not been confirmed in my researches. On the contrary, I have obtained con- 
tractions of the jaw muscles (the masseters) at a time when all other muscles, 
besides the intercostals, had lost all power of reaction. In three cases the latter 
muscles retained longest their contractility. 
* Eward, cited by Ostertag, loc. cit., p. 105. 



the surrounding medium : the higher the temperature, the earlier 
the rigidity of the meat ceases. But under equal conditions I have 
always found that in the Jewish method the rigor passes off last. 

This fact has also frequently been acknowledged by meat trades- 
men who, knowing nothing about the scientific aspect of the 
phenomena, express the thing simply enough by saying " the piece 
gets soft quickly." And the controlling experiment on the three 
rabbits has given the same result. 

To return to the experiment itself: the three rabbits, after the 
rigor had set in, were taken, unskinned as they were, to an under- 
ground room of the Chemical Department in the Institute of Pro- 
fessor Du Bois-Reymond, where they were placed on a table and 
kept at a temperature of 3 to 7 C. (37 to 44 Fahr.) 

TABLE III. The Relaxation of the Rigor Mortis. 

of Time 

Parts of Carcase relaxed. 

No. 1. 
Jewish Method. 

No. 2. 

Slaughtering (Berlin 
fashion) with previous 

No. 3. 

Combined Method 
(Stunning and Jewish 

3 days. 

No relaxation. 

Relaxation in the 
fore - legs and 


4 days. 

Begins at joints of 


Fore-legs and head. 

8 days. 




9 days. 




11 days. 

Head begins to 

Head, both fore- 
legs, and left 

Head, both fore- 
legs, and right 

13 days. 

Head relaxed ; be- 
gins in hind- 

All parts r 


16 days. 

Head, both fore- 
legs and right 

17 days. 


18 days. 

All parts relaxed. 

NOTE. All three rabbits were lying the whole time on a table near the window, 


The results of the experiments thus clearly disprove the con- 
tention made against sJwcheta, that with it the rigor mortis dis- 
appears earlier. Evidently quite the contrary is the case. 

As to the reasons of the relaxation of the rigidity in meat it is 
difficult to say whether the re-solution of the myosin alone, or any 
other causes besides, are answerable for that process. According 
to Kuchen, the clot of muscle-plasma is readily soluble in solutions 
of potassium nitrate of all strengths ; this would possibly account 
for the earlier remission of the rigor in the meat of stunned animals, 
as the accumulation of alkaline salts (ammonia) is greater in that 
sort of meat. 

If it were possible to regard the remission of the rigor and the 
putrefaction as one and the same process, as indeed is done by 
many scientists,* the above given results of our observations would 
be in themselves a sufficient proof that the meat of animals killed 
in the Jewish fashion withstands putrefaction longer than that of 
stunned animals. But I would not rest satisfied with a solution of 
the question based only on such evidence as in my opinion the 
remission of rigor and the putrefaction are two distinct chemical 
processes, which under certain conditions, it is true, may coincide 
in time, but are quite able to appear independently. From the 
above table we have seen that in all three animals decomposition 
had been equally established in certain parts for a long time, but 
that the disappearance of the rigor did not reach its end in all 
three alike. Therefore I could not regard this way as a safe one 
for establishing the period of time during which the flesh of 
animals, slaughtered by the different methods, remains untainted, 

with the skin entire, except at the spot where the cut for bleeding had been made 
and at the fore-legs, where, immediately after the slaughter, the galvanic test was 
applied. On the eleventh day, at the above-mentioned spots, which were free of 
skin, the meat was found to be alkaline, and in a state of decomposition in rabbits 
1 and 2. On the thirteenth day the parts freed from skin had in all three rabbits 
a strong smell and an alkaline reaction. But on spots, which were not skinned 
(e.g., on the back), the muscles, particularly in rabbit No. 1, were found to look 
fresh and showed an acid reaction (in Nos. 1 and 3). Thus it seems that the 
meat of animals, in whatever way they have been slaughtered, resists decomposi- 
tion much longer if they remain in their skin, than if they are skinned and 
exposed to the influence of the air, notwithstanding that in the first case the 
entrails, which are so liable to putrefaction, remain within the body. 

* The expression " remission of rigor and putrefaction " is very frequently used 
as conveying one idea in numerous text-books of physiology and meat inspection. 


but decided to have recourse to the more reliable if more circum- 
stantial method of finding by chemical analysis when decomposi- 
tion first sets in. 

The chief products of putrefaction generally are ammonia * and 
carbonic acid, to which, under conditions favourable for the deve- 
lopment of bacteria, sulphuretted hydrogen, indol, and other bodies 
must be added. Now I argued that if I could find out and 
compare the development and accumulation of one of the above- 
named bodies in samples of meat of different sources, it would be 
the best way of determining the first appearance and the degree of 
putrefaction in the respective sorts of meat. But as experiments 
of such a kind in relation to our question had never been under- 
taken, I first of all wished to find out by experiment whether the 
quantity of ammonia could be regarded as a true indication of the 
degree of decomposition of meat. These preliminary experiments 
were carried out in the chemical department of the physiological 
institute of Prof. Du Bois-Eeymond. As material for these pre- 
liminary investigations I used fresh-looking meat of uncertain 
killing, bought at a butcher's, and determined daily the quantities 
of ammonia therein. At the very outset of my investigations I 
found that only small portions of meat could be used for analysis, 
as in larger pieces (50 to 100 grams) the accumulation of ammonia 
even at the commencement of putrefaction is so enormous that it is 
difficult to carry out the work properly. I took, therefore, for my 
experiments but small pieces of meat, weighing no more than 
5 grams, minced them well, put them into flasks which each con- 
tained 50 cubic centimetres of distilled water, and placed the 
flasks in an incubator, whence they were taken and analysed every 

In order not to fatigue the reader, who, though without know- 
ledge of chemistry, would like to satisfy his interest in the matter, 
I shall give here a short explanation of the method employed in 
this investigation. 

For the quantitative estimation of ammonia contained in the 
meat I made use of the well-known chemical method of titration, 
which consists in replacing the ammonia contained in the salts of 
ammonia by the base (sodium) contained in caustic soda. The 

* Ammonia is a gaseous body arising wherever organic matter is in a state of 
decomposition. The odour is that of sal-ammoniac. 


metal sodium, which is contained in caustic soda, has a greater 
affinity to the acids which are contained in the ammonia-com- 
pounds than ammonia itself ; therefore a double decomposition 
i.e., a decomposition of both bodies takes place, and the sodium 
derived from the one compound combines with the acid derived 
from the other compound to form a new body, whilst the ammonia 
is set free. If, for instance, sal-ammoniac (ammonium chlorate) 
is acted upon by caustic soda (sodium hydroxide), the result will 
be common salt (sodium chlorate), free ammonia, and water, because 
sodium and chloric acid have a great affinity for each other i.e., 
tend to combine. That is the case not with chloric acid alone, 
but with any acid that forms a compound with ammonia. Thus, 
when the meat contains any compound of ammonia (ammonium 
salts), and we pour on it some solution of caustic soda, we shall 
cause certain chemical reactions, as a result of which the 
gaseous body ammonia will be formed. The proceeding in this 
experiment is the following : The minced meat, with water and 
a 10 per cent, solution of caustic soda in excess, is put into a flask, 
which by means of two glass tubes is connected on the one side 
with a retort in which water is boiling, and on the other side with 
a cooling apparatus. The steam from the boiling water, in passing 
through the flask with meat, takes with it mechanically the 
ammonia gas that is freed from the meat, and becomes condensed 
into water in the cooling apparatus. That ammonia being a 
soluble gas, it readily dissolves in that condensed fluid. Now, if 
this alkaline fluid is taken, and the solution of an acid of a known 
strength* is added to it until its alkaline reaction changes into a 
neutral one,f we can easily estimate from the quantity of the acid 
required the amount of ammonia which the water has contained, 
and thus we obtain the exact quantity of ammonium compounds 
of the meat under examination. 

The results were the following (for quantities of 5 grams) : 

* For neutralisation I used oxalic acid, which is handy for weighing, observ- 
ing, and is sold in a very pure state. 

t As an indicator I used rosalic acid, which gives the liquid a red colour as 
long as it contains the slightest amount of a free alkali. 


1. Meat fresh from the shop . . . 4'2 c. cm.* 

2. ,, after 48 hours standing in the in- 

cubating oven (the meat was 

now tainted) .... 14'3 c. cm.f 

3. after 72 hours standing in the in- 

cubating oven (highly offensive 

odour) ..... 22'2 c. cm. 

4. after 76 hours standing in the in- 

cubating oven . . . 22'5 c. cm. 

After having found by this preliminary examination, and a 
similar one on the flesh of dogs, that the accumulation of ammonia 
increases in meat with the growth of putrefaction, and that 
at a certain point the quantity of ammonia increases as much 
during one day as during the two preceding days taken together, 
I was prepared to proceed to the comparative analysis of meat 
obtained from animals slaughtered in different ways. 

It is unnecessary to give here the tables of all my analytical 
experiments, as their results differ but slightly from each other. 
I shall confine myself to two series of experiments, in which in 
the one case the two sorts of 'meat were kept in the open air on 
the window-ledge of the laboratory itself, whilst in the second 
the samples were kept in the incubator. 


Two oxen were slaughtered in my presence on November 28, 
1893, at 3.30 P.M., both of them having grey-coloured hides 
and being nearly of the same body-weight. One was slaughtered 
according to the rules of shccheta, without any subsequent stab in 
the neck or after-cutting. The other was stunned, and received 
three blows before falling down and three further blows before 
becoming completely unconscious. After the carcasses had 
been cut up, pieces of meat were taken from the loins of both 

* The figures 4-2, &c., indicate the number of cubic centimetres of a deci- 
normal solution of oxalic acid required for neutralising the ammonia. 

f At the second analysis, undertaken after twenty-four hours standing, the 
flask broke, and no result was obtainable. 



animals, a seal being attached to the shecJieta meat, as a pre- 
caution against confusing them, and both were conveyed under 
equal conditions to the laboratory. The first examination was made 
two hours and a half after the killing. Six samples were taken 
of each sort of meat, each sample weighing 5 grams. Each of 
the twelve samples was put into a special glass flask with 100 c. cm. 
of distilled water, and properly labelled, and placed in the incu- 
bator, which was regulated for 36 to 38 C. (97 to 100 Fahr.). 
The samples were then analysed daily. 


Third Series. 

Fourth Series. 

Length of time 
from > killing. 

Meat kept at a temperature of 
3 to 6 C. (37 to 43 Fahr.). 

Meat kept in the incubator at 
36 to 38 C. (97 to 100 Fahr.). 





2 hours. 
1 day. 





2 days. 




Flask burst. 















I must not fail to mention here that in many experiments, 
particularly with meat kept at a low temperature, it happened, 
that after a certain amount of ammonia had already developed in 
the meat, a sudden falling off in the quantity of that gas was 
noticed, amounting sometimes to as much as 30 per cent, of the 
previous day's quantity. The next day, however, a rapid increase 
of this gas was observable, a phenomenon which I encountered 
but very seldom in the analysis of meat from the incubator (see 
Table IV.). I cannot enter here into a theoretical discussion of 

* The numbers here, as in the preceding table, indicate cubic centimetres of 
decinormal solution of oxalic acid used for neutralisation of ammonia. 

t I nearly always observed that immediately after the slaughter the meat of 
stunned animals contained a few points less of ammonia, but soon the quantity 
rose in a rapid manner. 

J On the sixth day the quantities of ammonia in the samples from the incu- 
bator were so large, and their estimation took so long, that in view of the closing 
of the laboratory I had to forego testing the other samples. 


this phenomenon, which would lead me into the region of the 
functions of the various bacteria, a study that is not everybody's 
province. With regard to the question in hand i.e., the longer 
or shorter keeping of meat from two different sources only the 
relative increase of ammonia under equal conditions is of any 

From these two series of experiments it is thus evident that the 
increase of ammonia, and with it the progress of putrefaction, both 
in low and high temperatures, is much less rapid in the meat of 
animals slaughtered in the Jewish manner, than in the meat of 
those slaughtered after having been stunned. 

Further we learn from these experiments that, even if meat is 
preserved at a low temperature, the quantity of ammonia in the 
meat of stunned animals after the lapse of three days is almost as 
large as the quantity developed in the shecheta meat during five 
days (corresponding to 12'4 cub. cm., and 12-8 cub. cm. of 
decinormal oxalic acid). The difference in the quality of the two 
sorts of meat is more striking still when the samples are kept in a 
condition favourable for the development of micro-organism i.e., 
in the incubating oven at blood-heat. Whilst 5 grams of shecheta 
meat, after three days standing, required for the neutralisation of 
its ammonia 14'6 cub. cm. of decinormal oxalic acid, 12-5 cub. cm. 
were wanted after twenty-four hours for the same quantity of the 
other sort of meat. 

We observe a still greater difference in the further stages of 
decomposition (177 and 3O4, or 19'9 and 357). 

Let these experiments be as convincing as they may, the 
objection might still be made, that as the meat was taken from 
two animals, the difference resulting on analysis might perhaps be 
due to a difference between the animals themselves. In order to 
remove any doubt in that direction, I carried out the following 
experiment on the flesh of a dog : 

We already know that, with regard to the preservation of meat, 
the difference between the Jewish method and stunning is essentially 
that in the latter method, in consequence of the blows on the 
head, and the resulting of paralysis of the vasomotor nerves, the 
outflow of blood is much smaller than in the Jewish method. 
Now, if we sever the nerves running to one leg of a dog, and with 
them of course those nerve fibres which regulate the blood- 


quantity in the vessels, we cause a paralysis of the leg as well as 
of its bloodvessels, and if the dog after a while is killed by 
severing the bloodvessels of the neck (in the Jewish manner), we 
shall find the leg that has been operated upon in the condition 
usually caused by stunning, whilst the other parts are in the con- 
dition consequent on the employ of the Jewish method, and we 
are thus enabled to make a comparative analysis of meat of two 
kinds in one and the same animal. The results of this experiment 
are also of great importance for the decision of the question 
whether the better preservation of the shecheta meat is due to the 
small quantity of blood it contains, to the epileptiform convulsions, 
or to both of these factors. 

This experiment was made on December 13, 1893, at 11.15 A.M., 
in the laboratory of the Veterinary College in Berlin : A black 
dog of 13 J kilograms weight was deeply anaesthetised by ether, its 
right sciatic nerve (n. ischiadicus) was laid open and cut through, 
and the wound sewn up. An hour later the dog recovered from 
the effects of the ansesthetic, and in an hour and a half it was 
well enough to take food. In walking he dragged the right hind 
leg behind him, which was a sure proof that the nerve was 

At 1.15 P.M. the dog was killed by severing the arteries of its 
neck with a very sharp and broad knife (Jewish method). Two 
hours later, when death rigidity was established (the dog operated 
upon became rigid somewhat later than the others), both hind 
legs were severed at the knee-joints and carried to the chemical 
laboratory, where the quantities of ammonia were analysed daily. 
The interesting fact resulted, that in the leg operated upon the 
development of ammonia was greater than in the other one. 


After having proved that under equal conditions in meat of 
animals slaughtered without previous stunning, the development 
of ammonia is less than in that of animals killed with previous 
stunning, it remains only to answer the question, what are the 


relations of the development of ammonia to the process of 
putrefaction ? 

Before entering on this question a few preliminary remarks on 
the general causes of putrefaction might find place here. 

The process of putrefaction, like that of fermentation, is exclu- 
sively the result of the action of certain putrefactive micro- 
organisms in the presence of moisture and atmospheric air 
(oxygen). During the decomposition of organic substances (and 
naturally, therefore, also of meat) various poisonous bodies are 
formed that have the properties of alkaloids, and are called 
ptomains (Selmi). These bodies are therefore the products of the 
vital activity of the above-mentioned micro-organisms, which grow 
in animal matter, in albuminous substances (e.g., the blood), and 
different other media. The micro-organisms grow more readily in 
tissues and nutritive liquids of an alkaline reaction, whereas in 
acid media their growth is greatly impeded. (That is the reason 
why, in conserving meat, mainly acids and the supersalts of acids, 
as vinegar, &c., are used.) The ammonia found in the meat is 
thus an excretory product of these bacteria i.e., a product of 
putrefaction. Thus it may be assumed a priori that the meat, 
which for some reason or the other affords the most unfavourable 
conditions for the growth of the putrefactive bacteria, will remain 
longest untainted. But the favourable or unfavourable nature of 
these conditions is dependent on the method of slaughter, and a 
careful study of the question reveals the fact, that THE JEWISH 


These conditions may be classified under the following heads : 

1. The quantity of blood remaining in the body. 

2. Removal of oxygen with the rapidly outflowing blood. 

3. Epileptiform convulsions. 

4. The removal of water from the muscles. 

1. The Quantity of Blood remaining in the Body. 

The blood being a fluid of alkaline reaction, and with a great 
proneness to decomposition, it must, according to what has been 
said above, be an excellent nutrient medium for bacteria. There- 


fore the more there remains of it in the slaughtered animal, the 
more rapidly the micro-organisms grow in the latter, and the 
sooner putrefaction ensues. With these facts for a guide, we see 
that a method of slaughter which would leave no blood whatever 
in the body would be hygienically an ideal one ; but it is unfor- 
tunately quite impossible for such a method to be found. Now, to 
bring out clearly that the rate of progress of putrefaction is really 
dependent amongst other things upon the quantity of blood left 
in the body, we must show by experiment how widely that quantity 
differs in the various methods of slaughter. 

It is sufficient to once witness the practical application of the 
Jewish and other methods to recognise how splendidly the theory 
is confirmed by the practice. If two oxen of the same race, and 
approximately of the same size and weight, are killed, the one in 
the Jewish manner, the other in some other way, it is easy to get 
at a right estimation of the bleeding by carefully gathering the 
blood of each ox and comparing the quantities thus obtained. 
But it is more convenient to do the same with smaller animals, as 
all the blood can easily be caught in some handy vessel. 

Not long ago I remarked in the slaughter-house of Zurich a 
very interesting fact, serving to show how great is the quantity of 
blood left in the carcases of animals stunned before the slaughter- 
ing. About half an hour after the killing, when the blood is still 
more or less liquid and the carcase is hung up, one saw, when the 
hind quarter was being cut off, and the hip-joint and the big 
vessels there (the femoral arteries and veins) divided, that a great 
amount of blood was still left in those vessels, and was streaming 
to the ground in large quantities a thing that never happens in 
the Jewish method of slaughter. 

Further proof of the insufficiency of the bleeding in the case of 
stunning may be seen in the fact, that in this method of slaughter 
the bloodvessels on the inner and smooth walls of the cavities of 
the body are seen to be widely dilated, and that even the small 
branches of them, which are usually not to be seen at all, become 
visible, because they are filled with blood. This is never the case 
in the Jewish method. Another proof is the fact that during the 
process of bleeding itself, the slaughterman has to tread about a 
long time on the belly of the animal before he is able to press out 
any quantity of blood worth mentioning. 


The best way of estimating the different quantities of blood 
removed from and remaining in the bodies of the animals 
slaughtered by different methods, would undoubtedly be to weigh 
the animal before and after the act of slaughter. But in trying 
to apply this mode of examination to big cattle I encountered 
difficulties of such a nature, that I had to desist from the attempt. 
Apart from other and purely technical obstacles as, for instance, 
the difficulty of finding two animals of the same race and weight 
there may arise many errors in the estimate from the fact that 
sometimes faeces and urine are passed by the animal whilst it is 
being slaughtered, and this point cannot be overlooked in making 
the calculation. But if, instead of big cattle, small-sized animals 
e.g., dogs or rabbits of the same litter are taken and slaughtered 
by different methods, one will at once see that in the stunning 
method the Heeding is much less abundant than in the Jewish one. 
This is true, not only of stunning properly so-called, but to a still 
greater extent in the case of the stab in the neck. 

To bring this important fact out clearly in an experimental way, 
I was compelled to sacrifice a few innocent dogs and rabbits.* 
One of these experiments, carried out in the presence of physio- 
logists and medical men in the Veterinary College of Berlin, may 
be recorded here. 

Two buck rabbits of the same litter, weighing, one 2000 grams, 
and the other 1850, were slaughtered one according to the rules 
of shccheta, the other after previous stunning in the mode 
customary in Berlin and each was weighed a second time after 
the bleeding had taken place. 

From physiology it is known that the quantity of blood in a 
rabbit varies, according to its race, &c., from one twenty-second to 
one eleventh part, and on the average is equal to T Vth of its 
entire body-weight. The bigger rabbit, therefore (2000 grams), 
must have had about 111 grams, and the smaller (1850 grams) 
about 103 grams of blood. But the results were not at all in 

* Being myself a member of a Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to 
Animals, I must apologise to my fellow-members for this sacrifice in the interest 
of science. Those " protectors of animals " who regard the method of stunning 
as an entirely painless one, will certainly find my deed criminal only in the case 
of the animals killed in the Jewish fashion. However, I see my excuse in the 
fact that these " sacrifices " may possibly be the means of sparing needless pain 
to thousands of animals. 



harmony with these numbers: the rabbit slaughtered in the 
Jewish manner lost 80 grams, the other, that had been stunned, 
lost only 30 grams of blood ! That means, that in the body of the 
first there were left after slaughter only 31 grams of blood, in that 
of the second 73 grams. In order to bring out clearly the direct 
influence of the stunning on the escape of blood, a third rabbit 
was taken, and first stunned, then slaughtered, but not in the 
usual (Berlin) manner, but in the Jewish one i.e., by simul- 
taneous severance of both carotids. This third rabbit weighed 
1950 grams (to which would correspond 108 grams of blood), and 
lost 50 grams of blood. 

A better view of these results will be presented by giving them 
in tabular form : 


Method of 


Weight of 
the Rabbit 
in grams. 

Weight of 
entire Blood 
quantity of 

Blood lost 

in the 

tion of 

tion of 
ing in 
the Meat. 


2000 grams 

Ill grams 

80 grams 

31 grams 




1850 grams 

103 grams 

30 grams 

73 grams 





1950 grams 

108 grams 

50 grams 

58 grams 




The table shows that the animal which was stunned lost 30 
grams of blood, and retained 73 grams, amounting to 71 per cent, 
of the whole bulk, whilst in the carcase of the second rabbit, that 
was nearly of the same weight, but was killed by direct severance 
of the arteries of the neck, there were retained only 31 grams, or 
28 per cent, of the whole quantity of blood it contained. 

Another experiment, carried out in Leipzig on September 13, 
1893, gave results still less favourable for the stunning. Two 
rabbits were taken from one and the same litter, weighing 2680 
and 2610 grams consequently of almost the same size. Here 
again the first was slaughtered in the Jewish fashion, the second 


with previous stunning. The first rabbit lost 90 grams of blood, 
the stunned animal only 20 grams.* 

These experiments afford a full explanation of the fact that 
meat obtained by the Jewish method of slaughter yields a smaller 
amount of ammonia and remains sound for a much longer period 
than that of animals killed in any way requiring stunning. 

The same principle we find also applied in the matter of pre- 
serving fish. The German fishermen, for the purpose of preserving 
the fish longer and improving its quality, use the so-called method 
of Heinicke, which consists in the removal of the gills and the big 
bloodvessels that are connected with the gills. Fish that is pre- 
pared in this way is whiter and more tasty than that of other 
methods of preparation, and remains sound for double the period 
of time. The same expedient is used by the fishermen of Fries- 
land for preserving herrings. Herrings prepared in this manner, 
packed in bundles, and sent by post for long distances, arrive at 
their destination in a very fresh state, even after having been 
subjected for four days to a temperature of 13 to 15 (55 to 59 

Apart from this, another important point must not be lost sight 
of: that in herbivorous animals the alkalinity of the blood is much 
diminished by the epileptiform convulsions which accompany the 
last moments of the animal slaughtered in the Jewish manner. 
To the reasons of this phenomena I shall have to return later on 
when examining the influence of the convulsions on the preserva- 
tion of meat. 

An excellent example of the extent to which the blood hinders 
the preservation of meat untainted is afforded by the following facts. 

In some places in England, as was mentioned above (p. 26) 
for the benefit of people of a certain gout, the so-called " patented 
method of slaughter," without any bleeding whatever, is used. The 
meat of animals killed in this way is jit for use only during the first 
few hours after killing. 

It is likewise a fact within the knowledge of every one, that the 
liver decomposes very rapidly, because of the large quantity of 
blood it contains. 

* In the second case, true, some blood had escaped into the cavity of the 
chest, but only to the extent of a few grams. 
t Revue Seientifique, vol. xlvii., No. 1, 1891. 


The director of the Central Abattoir of Berlin, Dr. Hertwig, 
with reference to this fact says*: "This (the Jewish) method, 
however, has also been taken up by Christian slaughterers, because 
the escape of the blood is more complete, and the meat, besides keeping 
better, acquires a more tender appearance. 

Here the objection may be advanced : " If the blood is so detri- 
mental, why is it that in modern medicine feeble persons in some 
cases are advised to drink it ? " (This objection was indeed made 
during the discussion that followed my lecture, delivered before the 
Medical Society of St. Petersburg.!) But we ought not to forget 
that in those cases is meant the fresh and warm blood that is just 
escaping from the bloodvessels of the animal, which of course is 
far from being the same as blood that has remained in the dead 
organism, were it only for a short time. It has already been 
pointed out that the blood as soon as it leaves the vessels after 
death undergoes certain changes and clots. Certainly the blood, 
even whilst in the living organism, contains certain chemical bodies 
not fit for use as food, but they are continually removed from the 
body by the excretory organs (kidneys, sweat glands, &c.) in the 
shape of urine, sweat, &c. ; whilst as soon as death has taken place 
the same chemical bodies are transformed into poisonous sub- 
stances called ptomains, that increase in quantity from day to day. 
After a certain time they may have accumulated to such an extent 
that the quantity of meat usually eaten at a meal would be suffi- 
cient to cause grave injury to health. 

From what I have said just now it is evident that, from the 
standpoint of hygiene or public health, preference must be given to 
that method of slaughter that will yield a stable meat i.e., a sort 
of meat that withstands decomposition longest, and can there- 
fore be used as food without any danger to health. These quali- 
ties we only find in the meat of animals slaughtered by the Jewish 

After this it is easy to explain why Christian slaughterers too, 
wishing to obtain a meat that has a nice appearance and good 

* See The Institutions of Public Health, &c., in the City of Berlin (Festschrift zur 
b^ten Naturforscher-Versammlung, Berlin, 1886, chap, xxvii.) ; Inspection of Meat 
by Chief Veterinary Surgeon Dr. Hertwig, p. 301. 

t See author's paper, On the Anatomical and Physiological Principles involved in 
the Different Methods of /Slaughter. 


keeping qualities, kill their cattle by a direct cut through the 
bloodvessels of the neck, although they never use for that purpose 
such a sharp knife as the shochet (the Jewish slayer) does. 

There are certainly a number of people who have a fondness for 
meat of a high flavour (as also for high cheese) ; but such dis- 
gusting, nay, dangerous, godt is confined to a few gourmands, whilst 
the great majority of people could not bring themselves to touch 
such meat. 

Not less ill-founded is the objection that meat, be it obtained by no 
matter what method of slaughter, will keep well for weeks if it be 
only placed in a refrigerator. First, refrigerators, or even simple 
ice-cellars, are not to be found everywhere. In Germany, for in- 
stance, only a few large abattoirs, as those of Leipzig and Frank - 
fort-on-the-Main, are supplied with a refrigerator. In Switzerland 
I have seen only one in Geneva ; whilst in Russia they do not even 
exist. Not even Berlin has a refrigerator, and the meat is carried 
straightway from the slaughter-house to the butcher's shop or to 
the market, where it is sold. Is it then reasonable to expect that 
in large and small towns and hamlets refrigerators would be built 
for the purpose of preventing the putrefaction of meat ? Finally, 
even supposing refrigerators to exist, though in reality they do 
not, still, the quantity of the blood retained would not lose ita 
significance with regard to the quality of the meat, since the 
alkaline reaction of the blood makes it an excellent nutritive 
medium for micro-organisms. 

Under the present economical and social conditions of our life it 
is impossible to contest that the mode of slaughter which guaran- 
tees the best taste and the longest keeping of the meat, must, out 
of pure consideration for the interests and well-being of the people, 
be unconditionally preferred to all others, and even though it be 
at the price of wounding the " ethical feelings " and the exag- 
gerated sentimentalities of certain very sensitive and hyper-moral 

Doubtless our moral feeling demands that we should treat the 
animal for the shambles as gently as possible, but we must not lose 
sight of the interests of our health, and we must, moreover, re- 
member that the animalis created for mankind. If you choose to 
give humanity its full scope and widest application, you must go a 
step further, and altogether abolish the slaughtering of animals for 


food, as indeed has been done by the Japanese.* That would at 
least be consistent. However, once the slaughtering of animals for 
the satisfaction of our greedy and exigent stomach is considered to be 
permissible and necessary, we can give our approval only to that 
mode of slaughter which will yield the kind of meat least dangerous 
for our health. 

2. Oxygen removed with the rapidly outflowing Blood. 

We shall have to dwell on this point at somewhat greater length, 
because this apparently quite insignificant fact furnishes some very 
valuable reasons why the meat obtained by the Jewish method of 
slaughter keeps better than any other. 

In the laboratory of Professor Hoppe-Seyler there have been 
made researches by Araki, which showed that where there is a 
lack of oxygen, and particularly where the want of it is so great as 
to cause death, lactic acid and sugar are formed in the muscle. As 
is known, Araki arranged his experiments in such a manner that 
the animals were put in a box, and the latter made air-tight by a 
coating of oil-paint, and thus the quantity of oxygen in the blood 
of the animal diminished. In every case after such an experiment 
he found lactic acid in the urine of the animals, sometimes as much 
as T ^th per cent. When the want of oxygen had caused the death of 
an animal he found lactic acid and sugar also in its blood, whilst 
in the normal condition it contains but mere traces of these sub- 
stances. Their quantity was always in direct proportion to the want 
of oxygen, no matter whether the latter was caused in the above 
described way, or by poisoning the animal with strychnine and thus 
causing convulsions, or in some other way. Therefore there remains 
not the slightest doubt that the appearance of lactic acid in these 
cases is due to its sudden increase in, and partial excretion from, 
the organs and muscles of the animal, caused by want of oxygen. 

Now, on comparison of the Jewish method with the other methods 
in vogue, we find that in the case of stunning, of Bruneau's mask, 

* In Japan, according to the statement of the German Professor Janson in 
Tokio, the use of meat was prohibited by the tenets of Buddhism in the seventh 
century A.D. For nearly twelve centuries no animals were slaughtered for food, 
so that they sometimes reached the age of fifty years. Only since the appear- 
ance of Europeans and Americans in Japan have animals again been sacrificed to 
this purpose. (See Zeitsckrift fur J'leisch- und Milchhygiene, third year, p. 226.) 



of the shooting mask, &c., the blood, which is the chief carrier of 
oxygen, not only does not escape from the body in a sufficient 
quantity, but what there is of bleeding takes place so slowly that 
the men are sometimes compelled to tread upon the abdomen of 
the slaughtered animal in order to forcibly press oid a certain amount 
of blood ; whilst in the Jewish method, the vasomotor centres 
remaining intact during the cutting itself as well as during the 
whole period of the death struggle, and the heart continuing its 
pumping action with unabated energy, the blood, immediately on 
the division of the arteries, begins to spurt out like a fountain jet, 
and the greatest quantity of it escapes in the relatively shortest 
time. Therefore it is clear that in the Jewish method, of slaughter 
an amount of lactic acid must be developed in the muscles incom- 
parably larger than in any other method. This view of the de- 
velopment of lactic acid in the organism, in case of severe loss 
of blood, is also confirmed in a recent paper on the " Metabolism 
in Cases of Want of Oxygen," by Hoppe-Seyler, which was 
dedicated to Rudolf Virchow on the occasion of his seventy-first 

In this essay* we read : 

" Since in cases of exhausting losses of blood, as well as in the 
case when too small a quantity of red blood-corpuscles is contained 
in the blood, the symptoms of want of oxygen are usually very 
marked, it was to be expected that in every case of severe anasmia 
the want of oxygen in the tissues would lead to the excretion of 
the above-mentioned bodies (lactic acid, sugar, &c.), with the urine. 
In a case of very grave anasmia in a girl .of thirteen, which ended 
fatally, I found in the urine of the lasti days large quantities of 
lactic acid and some amount of glucose (estimated by fermentation 
and polarisation tests) and very small quantities of albumen. It 
cannot be doubted that in cases of loss of blood, leading to uncon- 
sciousness, the same symptoms will be observed." 

The results of his investigations Professor Hoppe-Seyler sums up 
in the following sentence :t 

" The formation of lactic acid in the organs, and at any rate in 
the muscles, of higher animals, as a result of the absence of oxygen 

* Contributions to the Knowledge of Metabolism in the Absence of Oxygen, by 
Hoppe-Seyler (Festschrift zu Rudolf Virchow's Tlten Geburtstag). 
t See Festschrift, p. 16. 


and the excretion of this acid in urine, must be regarded as an 
established fact." 

A reference to the increased formation of lactic acid in the 
absence of oxygen may also be found in a paper by Professor 

On a superficial examination of this fact, the objection may be 
advanced, that since the absence of oxygen causes the development 
of lactic acid, the same principle must necessarily hold good also in 
other methods of slaughter, where respiration is impeded and the 
supply of oxygen diminished. But there is a very great difference 
between this want of oxygen and that occurring in the Jewish 
method. In the case of stunning, the sensation of suffocation is 
even stronger than in the Jewish method, but not so much in con- 
sequence of the absence of oxygen, as because of the concussion of 
the nervous centres of respiration, which calls forth asthmatic 
attacks. In the above-mentioned essay, p. 9, Professor Hoppe- 
Seyler says on the metabolism in the absence of oxygen : 

" In strong asthmatic attacks lactic acid can only be found in 
the urine when there is a real want of oxygen, but not if the 
sensation of suffocation is only the result of some nervous dis- 

From all these discussions it clearly results THAT THE JEWISH 


To the question of the influence of lactic acid on the keeping 
quality and other properties of the meat, I shall have to return 
after the discussion of the other characteristics of the Jewish 
method of slaughter. 

3. The Epileptiform Convulsions 

that unfailingly accompany the rapid escape of blood in the Jewish 


a. By advancing the formation of lactic acid in the meat ; 

* Ueber den Einfluss der verminderten Sauerstoffzufuhr zu den Geweben auf den 
Eiweisszerfall im Thierkorper, by Dr. A. Fraenkel, Virchow's Archiv, vol. Ixvii. 
fasc. 3, p. 275. 


b. By diminishing the alkalinity of the blood that has been 

retained in the meat ; 

c. By promoting the escape of blood from the small blood- 

vessels ; and 

d. By accelerating the onset of rigor. 

All these circumstances tend to hinder to a certain degree the 
decomposition of the meat, and may be considered as so many 
reasons why the meat obtained by the Jewish method is distin- 
guished from all other methods l>y better keeping qualities. 

a. The Influence of the Convulsions on the Formation of 
Lactic Acid. 

To Professor Du Bois-Reymond belongs the merit of having for 
the first time discovered the formation of an acid in the active 
muscle. This distinguished physiologist, as far back as 1859,* 
proved by experiments on animals that, whilst in the state of rest 
the muscle is neutral or alkaline in its reaction, it turns acid 
after contraction.! 

Du Bois-Reyinond divided one of the sciatic nerves in a rabbit,, 
and then provoked violent convulsions of all the muscles by poison- 
ing the rabbit with strychnine. After the death of the animal he 
found that in the leg, which had remained inactive because of its 
nerves having been divided, the muscles were alkaline in reaction ; 
whilst the muscles of the other leg, that had been convulsed, were 

During the thirty-five years that have elapsed since the first dis- 
covery of that fact, a great many experiments for the purpose of 
its verification have been undertaken and published. Now, 
although some authors (Monati, Batestini, Moleschott, Heffter) 
have pointed out that normally lactic acid may be detected also in 
the resting muscle, still this in no wise disproves the fact that the 
quantity of lactic acid is immensely increased in the active muscle.. 

* Ueber angeblicJie saure Reaction des Muskelfleisches : Paper read by Du Bois- 
Keymond at the meeting of the Royal Academy of Science on March 31, 1859. 
Also in E. Du Bois-Reymond, Gesammelte Abhandlungen zur attgemeinen Muskel- 
und Nerven-Physik, Leipzig, 1867, vol. ii. p. 3. 

t But it must be mentioned here that Berzelius already in 1841 had stated that 
the more active the muscle is, the more lactic acid is developed in it. See C. G_ 
Lehmann, Lehrbuch der physiologischen Chemie, 1850, vol. i. p. 103. 


In the question with which we are now concerned i.e., the in- 
fluence of lactic acid on the keeping qualities of meat it is quite 
immaterial whether the muscle in the state of rest contains a 
trifling amount of lactic acid or not. It is likewise of no moment 
whether the lactic acid, as Faker,* Salkowsky,f and others hold, is 
a " product of the living protoplasm," or whether some are right in 
contending that it arises in the course of the further chemical pro- 
cesses during death-rigidity. It is sufficient for us to state in a 
general way that 


no matter whether that takes place during life, or is effected by 
chemical changes accompanying the rigor. 

The reason of this phenomenon must be sought for in the increased 
demand for oxygen which appears every time a strain is put upon 
the muscles, and which, as a matter of course, must be intensified 
by the violent convulsions resulting from the rapid escape of blood 
in the Jewish method. It is a well-known fact, that in the muscles 
of hunted game a large amount of lactic acid is found (Lehmann). 
Further, it is proved beyond a doubt by the following experiment 
of Griitzner, that the deficiency of oxygen caused by the loss of 
blood, and still further increased by the convulsions. If the nerves 
supplying one leg are cut through, and the spinal cord is stimulated 
in the corresponding part, the muscles of the other leg will be 
thrown into contractions, whilst those of the first are resting. If, 
now extracts with pyrogallic acid are prepared from muscles of 
both legs and filtered, that from the resting muscle will be of a 
brownish colour, whilst that from the active one is clear as water, 
or straw-coloured. Likewise, Ludwig, Sczelkaer, and Schmidt have 
proved that the active muscle is using up much more oxygen than 
the resting. 

From the investigations of Araki:}: we learn that increased 
activity of the muscle causes the formation of lactic acid in the 
urine. In the urine of animals poisoned with strychnine he 
detected lactic acid, which had not been present before the experi- 

* Oentralblatt fur d. med. Wissensch. 1888, p. 417. 

t Virchow's Archiv, vol. Iviii. : Ueber die jlloglichkeit der Alkalienentziehung 
beim lebenden Thier, by Dr. E. Salkowsky. 

+ Zeitschr. fur physiol. Chemie, von Hoppe-Seyler, 1891, vol. xv. 


ment. With a similar fact we meet in medicine. The urine of 
people suffering from epilepsy, after the fit, contains a large quan- 
tity of lactic acid, whilst there is nothing of it in the portions taken 
before the fit. 

If we now consider that in the Jewish method the convulsions, 
which set in at the very beginning of the unconsciousness, as an 
effect of the instantaneous and copious loss of blood, are entirely of 
the nature of epileptic convulsions, on the strength of which, in 
fact, they are called " epileptiform convulsions" it will be evident 
that they will 


as the epileptic convulsions. The importance of lactic acid for the 
taste and the keeping qualities of the meat will be considered 
further on. 

I. The Convulsions Diminish the Alkalinity of the Blood. 

From the investigations of Salkowsky,* Minkowsy, and those of 
Zuntz and Geppert, who verified the results of the first two, we 
know that the alkalinity of the blood may be diminished more 
than half by convulsions of the extensor muscles. Zuntz and 
Geppert,t on examining the blood of rabbits before and after the 
convulsions, found that, whereas before the beginning of the con- 
tractions 100 grams blood could be neutralised only by 238 milli- 
grams of carbonate of soda (Na 2 C0 3 ), the quantity required after 
the convulsions had passed off was but 106 milligrams for the same 
amount of blood. In cases of prolonged spasms of the muscles, 
caused by tetanisation, the decrease in the alkalinity was so great 
that blood poisoning by acidity followed, which caused the death 
of the animal. Peiper| came to the same conclusion by a different 
way. On examining the blood of two persons before and after a 
march of two hours and a half, he found that he could neutralise 
a certain quantity of blood taken after the march with a smaller 
amount of acid than was required for the neutralisation of the same 
amount of blood before the marching exercise. Very recently, 

* Zeitschr.fiir physiol. Chemie, von Hoppe-Seyler, 1891, vol. xv. 
t Virchow's Archivf. path. Anaf., vol. cxvi. p. 337, 1889. 
t Pfluger's Archiv, vol. xlii. pp. 13, 23. 


Cohnstein* has proved by a whole series of researches that in 
herbivorous animals the alkalinity of the blood is enormously 
diminished by muscular activity. But it is a noteworthy fact that 
these astounding results are not found when the blood of carni- 
vorous animals e.g., a dog is examined. But if a dog is fed for 
a few days exclusively on vegetables (rice), then the results obtained 
are identical with those in herbivorous animals. 

From all these facts it follows that, if the usual muscular actions 
are sufficient to diminish the alkalinity of the blood, this effect will 
necessarily be much heightened after the violent epileptic convul- 
sions that accompany the bleeding in the Jewish method of 
slaughter. But a diminution in the alkalinity is of paramount 
importance in the matter of the preservation of meat. 

c. Convulsions and the Escape of Blood from the smallest 

To fully appreciate this point it is necessary to form a clear idea 
of the mechanism of contraction of a single muscular fibre. 

The muscular fibres, as has been mentioned already (page 57), 
are placed in a parallel order to each other, and consists of a sheath 
and a contractile part. If a whole bundle of these fibres is divided 
transversely, they appear in section as small circles, closely packed, 
between which the smallest bloodvessels, the so-called capillaries, 
are to be seen lying. During the contraction the several fibres not 
only become each of them shorter, but also thinner, so that their 
diameter is much increased. Naturally the interspaces are also 
enlarged in accordance with the well-known fact that the spaces 
between large circles are greater than between small circles. Now 
Ludwig and Sadler have proved that the muscles during contraction 
become richer in blood because of that enlargement of the inter- 
spaces. But each contraction being followed by a relaxation the 
blood is alternately drawn by suction-action into the muscle during 
the contraction, and again mechanically removed by the subsequent 

fl. The Epileptiform Convulsions and the Rapid Onset of Rigor. 
It being a well-known fact that the contractions of the muscles 

* Ueber die Aenderung der Blutalkalescenz bei Mugkel- Arbeit, Virchow's Archiv, 
vol. cxxx. 1892. 


quicken the onset of the death rigidity, and render the meat more 
tender, it is evident that the meat will become fit for use the sooner, 
the stronger the contractions of the muscles have been before the 
death of the animal. When the illustrious naturalist Schwann in 
1859 read the essay of Du Bois-Reymond on the formation of acid 
in the muscles in cases where convulsions had taken place before 
death, he directed to him a letter, which, being a proof of how 
practical experience often confirms scientific discoveries, was pub- 
lished in the Archiv fur Physiologie of Reichert and Du Bois-Rey- 
mond.* From this letter I quote here a passage which is also of 
some interest from its bearing on the present question : 

"It was at the house of a friend of mine in a neighbouring 
country-seat. For the opening of the hunting season a dinner was 
given, to which numerous guests were invited. But the day having 
been fixed rather too late, the answers of the invited gentlemen 
could not be to hand in time for making the necessary arrange- 
ments for the meal, therefore the host thought Well, in case we 
run short the poultry-yard can help us out, there are fowls enough ; 
whereupon I remarked that fresh-killed animals cannot be cooked 
immediately, because they are not tender enough. My friend 
replied, ' There is a way of remedying this fault and of making 
the meat tender, but it is too cruel for me to use. It is done thus: 
One forcibly pours a spoonful of vinegar down the throat of the 
live hen and brings it into a closed room where there is nothing 
breakable, and particularly no glass panes in the window, and 
chases it about until it is entirely exhausted. If the hen is imme- 
diately afterwards slaughtered, its flesh is very tender.' You will 
see, therefore, that the cooks have anticipated your discovery and 
are aware that acid gives tenderness to meat, and that this acid is 
formed by severe efforts of the muscles in the living animal. At 
any rate it is interesting to see how scientific research explains 
methods to which people have arrived by the simple experience of 
everyday life. I hope that this communication will be of some 
interest to you as a confirmation of your valuable experiments on 
the reaction of muscles." 

* Reichert's u. Du Bois-Reymond's Archiv, 1859, p. 846. 


4. Removal of Water from the Muscles in the Jewish 
Method of Slaughter. 

As a consequence of the very rapid loss of blood which takes 
place when both arteries of the neck are cut, the pressure inside 
the bloodvessels falls so quickly that within a few seconds after 
the division of the bloodvessels it becomes, inside the blood 
system, lower than in the surrounding tissues. As a result of this 
water transudes from the tissues into the vessels, and thus the 
quantity of water contained in meat from rapidly bled animals 
must necessarily be much less than in other meat. 

This supposition, founded on theory, finds full confirmation in 
practice. In his declaration, Mr. C. Hoffmann, a well-known 
wholesale butcher in Berlin, says, " The meat of cut animals (i.e., 
killed in the Jewish fashion) is, after two hours, as firm as that of 
stunned animals only after ten hours." 

In discussing the reasons of the better keeping qualities of meat 
attained by the way of shecheta, I must call attention to one other 
factor which has a great influence on the early commencement of 
putrefaction in the other methods of killing and is entirely absent 
in the Jewish method. 

It has already been mentioned above, in the course of the de- 
scription of the stunning method, that the butchers in order to 
obtain a bleeding in any way sufficient, do not cut the neck of the 
stunned animal in the way adopted in the Jewish method, but try 
to get in their knife as deep as possible in order to open arteries 
more voluminous than are the carotids.* By proceeding thus, 
however, the inner surface of the opened chest cavity becomes 
bespattered with blood, whilst in the Jewish method it remains 
perfectly clean. Therefore, in cases where previous stunning is 
had recourse to, the butcher is compelled to use water for washing 
out the chest cavity. Now, quite apart from the consideration 
that neither the cloth used for washing, nor the water in the 
slaughter-houses, as far as my experience goes, in any way sin by 
over-cleanliness, we know very well that water, whatever be its 
qualities, is very detrimental to the .keeping quality of meat. In 

* Some butchers assert that if the shecheta cut is applied after stunning the 
bleeding is still less satisfactory. And perhaps this is indeed the reason why 
that cut is never used in slaughtering with previous stunning. 


the shecheta, on the contrary, the washing out of the chest-cavity 
is not wanted at all, since it is not opened during the bleeding and 
remains perfectly clean. Further, there must be taken into account 
the peculiar property meat possesses, so long as it is warm and 
rigor has not yet taken place, of being able to absorb a consider- 
able quantity of water.* That it has this property all who have a 
special knowledge in these matters are well aware. f 

Only recently I have noticed another factor, which sometimes 
tends to hasten the decomposition of the meat of previously 
stunned animals. In some cases, though indeed rarely, there is 
an extravasation of blood into the muscles of the pelvis or the 
femur, probably in consequence of the bursting of the big blood- 
vessels of the groin (femoral artery or vein). I am not able to 
point out the reason of this phenomenon with any degree of cer- 
tainty. It is perhaps possible that the bursting takes place at the 
moment the blow is struck on the head, the bloodvessels, particu- 
larly in old oxen, being very brittle.^ It is a fact of common 
knowledge that even fractures of bones take place, not at the very 
spot where the blow is struck, but in some opposite part ; a blow 
on the top of the head, e.g., often producing a fracture of the base 
of the skull, although the bones are thicker there, a phenomenon 
known in surgery as fracture by contre-coup. Quite as often it 
happens that a violent box on the ear causes bleeding, not from 
the ear struck, but from the opposite one. Perhaps in the case of 
the ox the vasomotor paralysis caused by the blow on the head is 
followed by a sudden dilatation of the vessels, causing some of 
them to burst. 

Besides, veterinary surgeons are well aware of the fact that the 
stunning, unlike the comparatively mild casting of the animals in 
the Jewish method, causes such a violent fall that fractures of the 
pelvic bones and rupture of the ligaments uniting the sacrum with 
the iliac bones, occur not unfrequently. The rupture of the blood- 
vessels may perhaps occur from the same cause. 

Whatever be the cause, however, the fact is there and must be 

* Sausages prepared from meat before it has undergone rigidity contain only 
30 per cent, of meat and 70 per cent, of water, a fact which easily explains their 

f See Handbuch der Fleischbeschau fiir Thierdrzte und Sichter, by Prof. Robert 
Ostertag, 1892, p. 105. 

J The probabilty of this is, in truth, not great from a theoretical point of view. 


taken into account, for the accumulation of blood within the 
tissues, which remains unnoticed at first by the butcher, leads to 
the decomposition, if not of the whole part of the carcase, to at 
least of that spot in which it is situated. On inquiring of butchers 
whether they had noticed that in the carcases of animals killed 
with previous stunning under equal conditions one part sometimes 
decomposes sooner than the other, I received the reply that this 
fact has long been known, and there is even a technical expression 
for it in Germany, where they say the meat sticks. 

After having treated these points severally let us now consider 
what scientific and practical value can be attached, as regards the 
keeping quality and the taste of meat, to these four essential ad- 
vantages of the Jewish method : the rapidity and the copiousness 
of the bleeding, the increase of acidity in the muscles by the 
violent convulsions, the decrease in the alkalinity of the blood, and, 
lastly, the diminished quantity of water in the meat, advantages 
that are to be found in the sliecheta, either exclusively, or at least 
in a much higher degree than in the other methods of slaughter. 

Keeping in mind that the blood forms an excellent nutrient 
medium for the lowest forms of vegetable life, that germs that have 
accidentally found their ivay into it multiply with an extraordinary 
rapidity, that these micro-organisms cannot grow in acid tissue as 
well as they do in alkaline, and further remembering that in the 
Jewish method not only is less blood retained in the meat, but 
also the alkalinity of the retained blood lessened by more than half 
by the violent convulsions, and finally that the same convulsions, 
as well as the rapid bleeding, considerably advance and promote 
the formation of lactic acid : considering these facts, it will be 
evident that no doubt whatever can be entertained as to the fact, 
that the growth of the micro-organisms will proceed (all other 
conditions being equal) much more slowly in the meat of animals 
killed in the manner of the sliecheta than in the meat of those 
killed by some other method, and that accordingly DECOMPOSITION 


In maintaining that the better keeping quality of the shecheta 
meat is due to the four reasons enumerated above, of which the 
increase in the formation of lactic acid is probably the most essen- 
tial, we must nevertheless not forget that the preservation of the 


meat is not a direct effect of the lactic acid itself, but the outcome 
of a series of chemical changes that take place in the meat when a 
larger percentage of lactic acid is present. In the tissues of the 
body i.e., in the meat there is contained the neutral potassium 
phosphate (hydrogen dipotassium phosphate, HK 2 PO 4 ). By the 
action of the free lactic acid, appearing on slaughtering, it is 
transformed into the superphosphate salt (dihydrogen potassium 
phosphate, H 2 KP0 4 *) which gives the muscle its acid reaction 
and impedes the putrefaction. 

All the advantages of the Jewish mode of slaughter that I have 
been able to demonstrate by the preceding chemical and physio- 
logical researches, and by the study of the symptoms of the 
slaughtering process itself, I can sum up in a scientific manner in 
the following statements : 

1. The commencement of the decomposition of meat depends upvii 
the quantity of blood retained. Closely connected with the rapid 
bleeding is a decrease in the quantity of water in the meat. 

.2. At the moment of contraction a chemical decomposition takes 
place in the muscle. In consequence of the convulsions, the gly- 
cogen in the presence of oxygen is changed into sugar, which in 
its turn undergoes farther changes of oxydation and is decomposed. 
But if little oxygen or none at all is present (as is the case in the 
Jewish method in consequence of the rapid escape of blood), the 
sugar is transformed into lactic acid. 

3. The lactic acid thus formed in the muscle deprives the 
K 2 HP0 4 (neutral potassium phosphate) of one atom of potassium, 
with which it enters into combination, and KH 2 PO 4 (dihydrogen 
potassium phosphate) is formed, which has an anti-putrefactive 
effect. But if much blood is still present in the meat, the super- 
phosphate combines with the alkaline carbonates contained in the 
blood, and forms again potassium or sodium subphosphates (with 
an alkaline reaction). 

4. The blood-escape in the " shecheta-ciit" being rapid and 
copious, only a very small portion of oxygen remains available for 
chemical action. The advantage of rapid bleeding consists, there- 
fore, irrespective of the rapid unconsciousness it produces, in the 
prevention of the oxydation of lactic acid, and in the diminished 

* C 3 H 6 3 (lactic acid) + I^HPC^ (neutral potassium phosphate) = C 3 H 5 K0 3 
(potassium lactate) + KH.,P0 4 (potassium superphosphate). 


neutralisation of the potassium superphosphate. The amount of 
oxygen which is still left in the blood after the heart has ceased 
its action, and which is but in a very loose chemical combination, 
is soon used up by the organs which are in contact with the blood, 
so that at the commencement of the rigor there is no more of it 

5. Corresponding to the acid reaction of potassium superphos- 
phate contained in the meat, the latter is also acid in reaction, and 
is rendered more tasty. 

6. A living muscle that is able to contract, if tested during rest, 
is, as a rule, of a neutral or alkaline reaction. 

7. Chemical decomposition as the result of contractions takes 
place not only in the muscle, but as far as we know in all animal 

8. The contractions of the muscles are accompanied by a change' 
in the protoplasm. 

9. The epileptiform convulsions in the shecheta cause therefore 
the early onset of death-rigidity. 

Before concluding the discussion of the chemical examination of 
meat, I must add here a few remarks on the reaction of meat. To 
many readers these details may seem perhaps to be quite super- 
fluous, but I am compelled to enter upon them because the diver- 
sity and even contradiction of the views and opinions as to the 
reaction, and consequently as to the quality of the meat obtained 
by the different methods of slaughter, are probably due to the fact, 
that in these examinations tests of a different nature have been 
used, and particularly the litmus paper, which in the examination 
of meat often gives entirely uncertain results. The litmus paper 
is undoubtedly a good test for many liquids, but as far as the 
reaction of meat is concerned, its indications are seemingly contra- 
dictory. During two months I was engaged in testing samples of 
meat that were kept for definite periods and under different condi- 
tions, and also in testing watery extracts of the same, with and with- 
out the addition of chloroform,* and I obtained results to such an 
extent contradictory that litmus paper as a means of testing meat 
may justly be regarded as worthless. Sometimes, for instance, I 
obtained with one and the same sample of meat the acid reaction 

* The addition of chloroform delays the onset of putrefaction. 


as well as the alkaline the so-called amphoteric reaction the red 
litmus paper turning blue and the blue paper red.* 

The reason of this is very simple ; the colouring matter of litmus 
possesses the property of showing a double reaction in the presence 
of phosphates. And since in meat there are both kinds of salts 
present, neutral phosphates as well as the superphosphates, the red 
litmus paper is rendered blue and the blue paper red. As far back 
as 1859 Professor Du Bois-Reymond. writing on the acid reaction 
of the muscles, called attention to this phenomenon. In his essay 
we read on page 11 : 

" It was my friend Heintz, who, at the beginning of my investi- 
gations on the reaction of muscles, first called my attention to the 
probability that neither the blue colouring matter turns red nor 
the red one blue, but both of them equally turn pink, a supposition 
which was proved by experiment to be true." 

The same scientist, however, shows a way of overcoming the 
difficulties presented by this fact. On a thin and varnished board 
of lime-tree wood a number of red and blue test-papers are fastened 
by means of drawing-pins in such a manner that they overlap each 
other like the tiles of a roof. The surface of the piece to be tested 
must be pressed against the border of two strips, so that one half 
of it comes in contact with the red, the other with the blue test- 
paper. One has then not only the advantage of observing simul- 
taneously two effects with one and the same test, but the judg- 
ment as to the nature and degree of the decoloration of a blue strip, 
for instance, is also aided by comparison with the effect produced 
on the neighbouring red strip. 

As to the different reactions of the red and the blue litmus, the 
reasons of it are very simple : the red litmus has a greater affinity 
for alkalies, and therefore the paper containing this colouring 
body will turn blue as long as a trace of alkalies remains in the 
meat. On the contrary, the blue litmus has a greater affinity for 
acid, and will show the least trace of it by becoming red, even if 
it be not acids proper, but superacid salts. The same double 
reaction will be present in the testing of watery extracts of meat, 

* The same amphoteric reaction is found in the normal urine of man, under 
normal conditions of life, which is again due to the presence of phosphates. In 
the meat, however, there are, besides, many albuminous bodies that are able to 
cause the amphoteric reaction. 


as in them also there are contained various bodies of different re- 
action. The same kind of contradictory results have been obtained 
also by other investigators (Heffter, Rhosmann). Heffter,* there- 
fore, justly remarks that for testing the reaction of muscles it is 
much safer to use phenolphtaleine, which decolorates readily, is 
very sensitive, and is especially suitable for the examination of 
weak acids. 

The use of different testing methods, and especially of litmus 
paper, which gives results neither reliable nor easily discernible by 
every one, may be accountable for the fact that many scientists 
approve of the statement of Du Bois-Reymond, that active muscle 
is acid in reaction, and many others do not. That the formation 
of lactic acid is promoted in the muscle by epileptiform convulsions 
i.e., that the statement of Professor Du Bois-Reymond with 
regard to the reaction is true is also confirmed by the investiga- 
tions of Hoppe-Seyler and Araki, which have proved beyond doubt 
the formation of lactic acid from glucose in cases of want of oxygen. 
We need only bear in mind that epileptiform convulsions cause 
a greater want of oxygen through extreme acceleration of the 
respiration. Finally, clinical practice also proves, as has been 
already mentioned, that epileptiform contractions of the muscles 
cause the appearance of lactic acid in the urine; after fits this 
acid is found in the urine of epileptics in large quantities, whilst 
before them no trace of it can be detected. 

It may be added that the microscopical examination of meat 
likewise serves to confirm that the structure of the muscle-fibres 
in animals killed with previous stunning, undergoes alteration or 
rather decomposition earlier than in the shecheta-meat. In this 
place, addressing myself as I do principally to laymen, I must 
refrain from entering into further details, and from illustrating 
what I say by drawings of microscopical preparations. I will 
only say this, that under the microscope most muscles of the body 
when seen in a fresh state appear to be transversely striped ; but 
when the muscle begins to decompose, this microscopical feature is 
the first to disappear, and the stripes are no more to be recognised. 
If pieces of meat from animals killed in different ways are kept 

* Die Reaction des quergestreiften Maskels, by A. Heffter ; Archiv f. experimen- 
telle Patlwloyie and Pharmacologie, Panum and Smiedeberg, vol. xxxi. fasc. 4, 5, 
,p. 225. 


under equal conditions, and subjected to microscopical examina- 
tion at certain periods of time, we find that at a time, when in the 
meat of stunned animals the stripes of the muscle-fibres have 
already entirely disappeared, they are still distinctly to be per- 
ceived in the meat of animals slaughtered in the Jewish fashion. 
This difference amounts to two, or even to three days. 

From the results of the chemical, physiological and micro- 
scopical examination, we are forced to the conclusion THAT AS FAR 


tained almost with certainty, THAT ANOTHER METHOD OF SLAUGHTER 


Notwithstanding all these facts, the well-known opponent of the 
Jewish method, Herr Hans Beringer, maintained, in his report to 
the Congress of the Societies for the Protection of Animals, held 
at Dresden, that the meat of animals killed in the Jewish manner 
undergoes decomposition sooner than any other meat. In the 
said report of this " animal protector " we read the following 
words : 

" The slaughtering method, known as shecheta, in which the 
cattle are tied and cast down and often violently struggle before as 
well as after the cut through the neck, seems, with respect to the 
above-mentioned point and the processes that take place after the 
killing, to be not so recommendable as many have hitherto thought 
it. I wished to convince myself by personal observation what 
difference there is in the keeping of the meat of animals 
slaughtered by the different methods : shecketa, throat-transfixing, 
and felling. For that purpose, at different seasons of the 
year i.e., at different temperatures I had several calves slaugh- 
tered, four for each trial. One was slaughtered in the Jewish way, 
a second transfixed without previous stunning, and the others were 
stunned before the transfixion, one of them by a knock with the 
axe, the other with Kleinschmidt's mallet. A piece was taken 
from the back of each of the four calves, and the pieces kept in the 
same room -i.e., at the same temperature. The meat of the 


animal killed by the Jewish method was always the first to become 
tainted, then came that of the transfixed calf, and the meat of the 
stunned animal was always the last. The test by tasting gave the 
same results. The soups from the different samples of meat be- 
came unfit for use in just the same order of sequence. Thus the 
opinion, which is still held by many butchers, that the meat of non- 
stunned animals is more emptied of blood and keeps longer, is 
totally false ; just the opposite is the case." * 

This declaration, which was made before the delegates of all the 
Societies for the Protection of Animals, was, however, in point of 
fact, based only on his personal taste and there is, we know, no 
accounting for tastes and on his own personal acuteness of smell, 
and is not at all confirmed by scientific research or practical 
experience. Such an opinion can only be the outcome of an utter 
ignorance of the elementary laws of physiology and physiological 

* Referat iiber die Reform des ScJdachtwesens, erstattet beim X., Internationale n 
Fliier schutzcongress in Dresden, by H. Beringer, Berlin. (Reprint from the Reports 
of the Congress. ) 


THERE is no doubt that, on a superficial examination of the 
question, slaughtering with previous stunning, whatever the kind 
of stunning, would seem to be the most profitable method for the 
butcher, because 

(1) This method requires less time and less slaughtermen. 

(2) The quantity of blood remaining in the meat increases the 
weight of the latter, so that the butcher receives for the quite 
worthless blood the same price as he does for the meat. 

(3) The blood, if required to be collected for the manufacture of 
albumen, can be caught up in a more convenient way, as in the 
stunning method it escapes slowly, whilst in the Jewish method it 
spurts out like a fountain-jet, so that the butcher, as was said 
above, is often compelled to compress the cut arteries with his 
fingers in order to somewhat impede the flow of the blood. 

(4) In the Jewish method, in consequence of the cut being 
made in the neck, a few pounds of meat always go with the head, 
when the latter is cut off, whilst in any other method of slaughter 
the butcher may cut off the head as high as he wishes e.g., be- 
tween the skull and the first joint of the spinal column with the 
result that a few pounds of meat are so much gain to him, the head 
selling for the same price notwithstanding. 

But all these advantages are only apparent, and experienced 
wholesale butchers are no sticklers for these slight gains, but pre- 
fer to obtain a better and more stable sort of meat by using the 
Jewish method. This is best seen from the fact that the Americans, 
whose practical turn of mind is well known, for the most part have 
their cattle slaughtered in the Jewish fashion (in some States even 
exclusively employed) ; and, further, we find that in most factories 
of meat conserves, where certainly the economic side of the ques- 
tion is not neglected, the same method is in use. 


The Purchaser of Meat from Stunned Animals is 
certainly the Loser. 

Not only has he to pay the price of meat for worthless blood, 
but he gets into the bargain a considerable quantity of water, 
which the warm meat takes up when it is washed (see page 87), 
and for which he has also to pay the same price. By this kind of 
transaction the big hospitals of large towns and the commissariat 
departments of armies, who contract for large supplies of meat, are 
those who are most victimised. A Government that has to victual 
an army of half a million men would be cheated by its contractors 
to the extent of half a million marks per year (25,000).* 

* This results from the following calculation : The mammals, to which of 
course belongs the ox, have a quantity of blood, amounting to -fVth of their 
body -weight. An ox of 1000 Ib. weight has 78 lb. of blood, which makes 38 
grams to every 500 grams (nearly a pound) of its weight, but a greater quantity 
still to one pound of meat. From Table V. we have learned that in the Jewish 
method there remains in the body 28 per cent, of the blood about 10 grams to 
every pound of meat ; in the stunning method, 71 per cent., about 27 grams to 
the pound, which makes 17 grams more to the pound than in the sJiecheta. The 
quantity of meat consumed by an army of half a million men during a day is 
250,000 lb. , if half a pound is taken as the daily portion for one man. If now 
the above surplus of blood contained in the meat be but 10 grams instead of 17, 
the commissariat pays daily at the same rate for 5000 lb. of blood as for meat. 
In a year this quantity amounts to 1,850,000 lb. If the price of meat be reckoned 
at no more than 50 Pfen. (6d.) per lb., it results in a yearly loss of 912,500 Marks, 
apart from the fact that the mea have not received their full portion ofjmeat. 


All I have said hitherto can be summed up in the following 
statements : 


" SHECHETA," for 

(a) This method causes in the quickest and safest way loss 
of consciousness and insensibility. 

(6) The cut with the extremely sharp and smooth-edged 
knife is entirely painless, and encounters very few sensitive 
nerves in the neck. 

The tying and casting of the cattle previous to the act of 
slaughter, can on the one hand be easily performed with the 
aid of the numerous existing apparatus, without causing the 
slightest pain, and on the other hand, has the great advan- 
tage of guaranteeing the safety of the people employed in the 


(a) The copious and much more rapid escape of blood, and 
the epileptiform convulsions appearing towards the end of the 
bleeding, cause in the body of the slaughtered animal the 
development of lactic acid, which, combining with potassium 
phosphate, transforms the latter into potassium tartrate and 
dihydrogen potassium phosphate. Dihydrogen potassium 
phosphate impedes the development of micro-organisms and 
the formation of the products of putrefaction (ptomains and 
other poisonous substances), and considerably improves the 
taste of the meat. 


(b) The epileptiform convulsions render the blood that is 
still left in the meat less alkaline, and diminish therefore its 
properties as a nutrient medium for bacteria. 

(c) The epileptiform convulsions render the meat more 
tender and give it a better appearance. 


(a) The early onset of rigidity makes the meat fit for use 
sooner than any other sort of meat. 

(5) The decomposition is delayed, and the meat even in 
summer remains two to three days longer fit for use. 

(c) There is a much smaller quantity of blood and water in 
the meat, and the buyer is not imposed upon. 



IN bringing before the public the results of my physiological 
and analytical investigations and personal observations in slaughter- 
houses, I may once more emphatically state that it has always 
been my sincere endeavour in the study of the present question to 
deal with it and judge it in a totally impartial spirit. To avoid 
any shade of personal bias, I have in each doubtful case repeated 
the experiments in the presence of a second expert. With no 
less zeal than any other member of a Society for the Protection of 
Animals did I take up the study of the matter, and I likewise 
thought at first that there must exist serious faults in the Jewish 
Method of Slaughter to justify its being designated an act of 
cruelty. And it was natural indeed that I should suppose so. 
" If so many Societies for the Protection of Animals," said I to 
myself, " condemn this method as barbarous and so strenuously 
insist upon its suppression, they must surely have powerful 
reasons to urge in justification of their demand." Only after I 
had carefully read and gone into all that was written against the 
Jewish Method of Slaughter during forty-four years, and after I 
had at last learned to know the different and at times not quite 
legitimate means which the agitators against the Jewish method 
do not disdain to employ, did I acquire the conviction that the 
majority of these gentlemen are not in the least concerned with 
finding which of the slaughtering methods is fraught with least 
pain to the animal, but are influenced by quite other motives. 
It cannot be doubted that many of them were at first led to take 
part in the agitation against the Jewish method from their con- 
viction that it was really a cruel one, but passion has clouded 
their judgment, or they could not now so unscrupulously ignore 
notorious facts. 

On reading the publications issued by Animal Protection 
Societies during 1850-60, the years in which this question first 


rose into notice (originally in, the Waadt canton in Switzerland, 
and subsequently in Aargau, Endingen, and Lengnau), we may 
recognise the enormous difference in the character of the attacks 
made on the Jewish method then and now. When, during the 
first ten years, the agitation against the method was taken up by 
this or that Animal Protection Society, it was really based on the 
supposition that slaughter by this method was attended with 
torture to the animal, and the matter was immediately set at rest 
when a declaration was forthcoming from an authoritative source 
that the Jewish method was absolutely no more cruel than any 
other. But during the last ten years, which have witnessed so 
great a spread of Antisemitism in Germany, those attacks have 
been of quite a different character. Unfortunately the inventors 
of new and, judged at first sight, excellent methods have most 
effectively played into these gentlemen's hands, and the fact that 
these vaunted methods were so soon proved to be worthless and 
had to be rejected did not matter to them in the least. The 
history of this question shows that the agitation against the 
Jewish method flashed up like lightning the very instant that any 
new apparatus for slaughtering loomed on the horizon, without 
the least trouble having been taken to test its effectiveness. It is 
only necessary to read the printed reports of one and the same 
society to see how now one and now another slaughtering method 
is selected as the best at one meeting, condemned at the next as 
an infliction of torture, and again at the third recommended as the 
most humane method for depriving an animal of life. 

The following facts will furnish abundant proof of the extent to 
which these societies grope in the dark on the question of the best 
slaughtering method. On the 22nd of January, 1886, the Geneva 
Society for the Protection of Animals drew up a regulation 
(Rtylement pour le mode d'dbattage Israelite) providing that, as an 
improvement upon the Jewish method from a humane point of 
view, the animal to be slaughtered should also receive the neck- 
stab immediately after its throat had been cut. I have already 
shown, in my papers read before the Medical Society of St. Peters- 
burg, the true light in which this " improvement' 1 must be viewed. 
By sawing through the heads of several oxen killed by this stab, I 
showed that it is not possible with the ordinary stab to pierce the 
medulla oblonyata, and that terrible pain is inflicted on the animal 


by the dagger piercing the most sensitive nerves. This stab, 
which paralyses the motor centres, is nothing more than a con- 
venient method of getting the animal down, the application of 
which after the throat-cutting is without conceivable object since 
the animal then lies on the ground and is bleeding to death. 
Passing over the deterioration in quality of the meat caused by 
the stab through paralysis of the nerves controlling the blood-flow, 
and consequent insufficient bleeding, the fearful pain may have 
the effect of restoring to the animal the consciousness of which it 
had been deprived through anasmia of the brain. It is well known 
to every doctor that a person suffering from an illness, in which 
loss of consciousness occurs, such, for instance, as brain fever, may 
be temporarily restored to consciousness by irritation of any very 
sensitive nerves i.e., by causing him an intense pain. Notwith- 
standing this, the method of stabbing is calmly practised in 
Geneva and other places, a " finishing touch " to the Jewish 
method, and has even been imported here into Russia, where it 
has found its way into the slaughter-houses of St. Petersburg, 
Moscow, and other towns. But the result of my investigations 
into the matter, supported by the testimony of the other members 
of the Commission, will doubtless be its abandonment as cruel and 
unnecessary at no very distant date. 

So that this absurd regulation, the fruit of the ill-advised haste 
of a misguided Society for the Protection of Animals, has only 
served to inflict further and absolutely needless pain on the animal 
slaughtered ! 

No less absurd is the demand made for humanitarian reasons by 
many other of these societies that the animal should be struck on 
the head with a poleaxe after the bloodvessels of the neck have 
been cut through. Even if the blow be struck at the soonest 
possible moment, the space of time which elapses between the 
cutting and the blow must for purely technical reasons be so long 
that the animal will already have lost consciousness through the 
brain being emptied of blood. Thus, from the humane point of 
view, this " finishing touch " would be anything but an improve- 
ment, while hygienically it would most certainly be a change for 
the worse, since the paralysis of the vasomotor nerves which 
follows the blow would largely diminish the outflow of blood. 

As we have already said (see p. 31), the Paris Society for the 


Protection of Animals in 1894 awarded M. Bruneau the first prize 
for his mask, which, however, has not only been rejected in foreign 
slaughter-houses as useless, but is not even applied in the 
slaughter-houses of Paris itself, on account, probably, of its 
ineffectiveness. We ask, with all respect for the exertions of these 
societies in other directions, is it possible or permissible, in the 
face of these and other attempts on their part to solve the 
question of the best slaughtering method, to leave the decision in 
the matter to them, and to make their demands and contentions 
without more ado the ground for practical measures and modifica- 
tions ? The solution of a question of such paramount importance 
to the community should be entrusted only to the governmental 
authorities possessing full facilities to obtain from competent 
judges a thorough insight into the true state of affairs. The fact 
that the stab in the back of the neck, condemned by many 
German Societies as barbarous, was regarded by the Russian 
Societies for the Protection of Animals as the ideal method until 
recently (until the above-mentioned Commission had given in its 
Report), the fact also that in some places in Germany, as, for 
instance, in Leipzig, warm commendation is given to the Bruneau 
mask, which, after being tested in Berlin, was pronounced cruel 
and replaced by the poleaxe these facts alone are sufficient to 
prove that these Societies are not the tribunal whose decision on 
the present question can be regarded as final. When the re- 
searches of competent judges, men of scientific attainments and 
practical experience, have resulted in showing one method to be 
the best, then it will be the province of these Societies to direct 
their vigilance to the suppression of those methods which science 
has declared to be cruel and barbarous. 

I cannot indeed hope that certain members, who unfortunately 
too often possess a preponderating influence in these Societies, 
will allow any consideration for the facts I have stated to modify 
their conduct. If these gentlemen were indeed actuated by a 
desire to find a good and as far as possible painless method of 
slaughter, their mode of procedure would be very different from 
what it actually is. Far from imitating the example of the Russian 
Central Animal Protection Society, and honestly striving by 
experiment and investigation to get to the facts of the case, and 
shape their conduct accordingly, the chief business of these 


gentlemen is to introduce as much confusion and obscurity as 
possible into the question by the misrepresentations which they 
cause to be circulated in thousands of leaflets. The following is 
an example of the underhand proceedings of those persons who, in 
the name of the preservation of " Public Morals," preach a cam- 
paign against slaughter by the Jewish method. 

In Nos. 35 and 37 of the leaflets issued in the name of the 
Berlin Society for the Protection of Animals were detailed what 
purported to be the investigations made by the distinguished 
physiologists, Professor Du Bois-Reymond, of Berlin, and Pro- 
fessor Brouardel, of Paris. On reading these leaflets, I was 
totally at a loss to understand how these men of distinguished 
position in the scientific world could make statements in direct 
contradiction to the most elementary principles of physiology, 
medicine, and hygiene. As I myself had thoroughly dealt with 
the question and arrived at quite opposite results, I immediately 
communicated by letter with Professor Du Bois-Reymond, request- 
ing him to kindly inform me how he had arrived at the conclusions 
published in his name by the Berlin Society. In reply I received 
the following letter, written by the illustrious savant in person. 

"BEELIN, November 2, 1893. 

"To Dr. J. DEMBO, of St. Petersburg. 

" DEAR DOCTOR, In No. 35 of the organ of the Berlin Society 
for the Protection of Animals, which you have been kind enough 
to send me, the following words occur, printed in bold type : ' The 
profound scientific researches of the eminent physiologist, Pro- 
fessor Du Bois-Reymond, have thoroughly established the extremely 
important fact that the fear and suffering endured by an animal 
killed in the Jewish manner before and during the slaughtering 
has such a deteriorating effect on its flesh as to make it unfit for 
human consumption. This flesh is further liable to more rapid 
decomposition, and its bad qualities are especially seen when it is 
salted.' And in No. 37 : ' The researches of the physiologist Du 
Bois-Reymond have definitely proved that a dangerous deteriora- 
tion is caused in the quality of the blood of an animal which has 
been terrified and tortured during slaughter. This strikingly 
confirms the supposition that in the case of animals which are not 
stunned before the slaughtering, the blood is wrought to such a 


feverish condition by pain and fear that the meat becomes un- 

" In accordance with your request, I hereby declare, empower- 
ing you to use this declaration as you may think proper, that the 
above statements, in so far as they concern me, have not the slightest 
foundation in truth. I have never undertaken such researches as 
are above ascribed to me, and I further regard them as absurd, and 
their so-called result as false. Faithfully yours, 


Professor Brouardel, in Paris, to whom, as I have said, the 
Society's organ also referred, wrote as follows to Dr. Klein, who 
had at my request communicated with him : 

" FACULTY DE MEDECINE, PARIS, November 7, 1893. 
" DEAR COLLEAGUE, I have never expressed an opinion on the 
slaughtering question or on the advantages or disadvantages of 
any method of slaughter. You may therefore give the dementi to 
all statements on this head. Yours, 


Is it possible, after the exposure of such machinations (and I 
could if necessary quote many similar cases), for one who has 
really at heart the prevention of cruelty to animals to retain the 
slightest belief in the good faith of these gentlemen ? If they 
were indeed earnest in their professions they would do better, 
instead of wasting their time and trouble, and expending large 
sums in the production and circulation of these leaflets and the 
insertion of biassed articles in the newspapers against the Jewish 
method, to turn their attention to the matter of finding some 
apparatus for laying an ox gently down, and to direct their 
energies to the suppression of those barbarous and shocking 
offences against humanity with which slaughter by other methods 
is really accompanied. Or perhaps they dp not know that in 
order to catch every drop of a sheep's blood, which fetches a very 
high price, and at the same time to avoid as much as possible 
damaging the tender flesh of the neck, the butcher makes 
a single opening with the dagger in the neck, and then stands 
calmly by and with a stick prevents the slowly flowing blood from 


clotting too rapidly ; that in order to obtain a really white calf's 
head it is the custom to cut the head slowly from the living 
animal, beginning at the nape of the neck ; that in many slaughter- 
houses sheep are kept for hours together stretched out upon a sort 
of rough table made of long slips of wood, their feet being fastened 
in the spaces between the slips, to save the butcher the trouble of 
tying them up ; that in many places, as, for instance, in Leipzig, 
dozens of calves and sheep are kept standing in the place of 
slaughter itself, and witness the killing one after another of their 
companions ! Or are those gentlemen unaware of the fact, com- 
municated to me by Dr. Hertwig, Director of the Berlin slaughter- 
house, that often pigs into whose skull the bolt of the Kleinschmidt 
apparatus has already been driven are nevertheless quite un- 
stunned and must be killed by a stab in order that the firmly 
fixed bolt may be drawn out again ? Do these protection-pledged 
knights not know that pigs stunned by their much-vaunted 
Kleinschmidt apparatus often spring quite alive out of the cauldron 
of boiling water into which they are thrust immediately after the 
so-called stunning ? Would it not be much more humane, even 
if economically not so advantageous, to first cut through the blood- 
vessels of the animal's neck with a long sharp knife ? 

Instead of putting an end to these veritable cruelties to animals 
the so-called Societies for the Protection of Animals direct their 
attacks against a method so adequate as the Jewish, which fulfils 
every required condition. There is no scientific question on which 
unanimity of opinion reigns among experts to a greater extent 
than on the question of skecheta, which all authorities on physiology 
and veterinary surgery agree in declaring to be the most rational 
and humane of all the slaughtering methods. When we read the 
opinions expressed respecting the Jewish method by the eminent 
physiologists of various countries, it seems exactly as though an 
understanding had been previously arrived at between them on 
the different points involved. The supposition that these eminent 
men, true pillars of science, would make statements at variance 
with their actual opinions, could not be entertained for a moment 
by any person in the full possession of his reason. Is it not an 
enormity in this boasted nineteenth century, with all its parade of 
respect for science and science workers, that a small set of people, 
who at bottom have little in common with science in general and 


medicine in particular, should publicly charge men of such great 
authority as Virchow, Du Bois-Reymond, &c., whose names are 
heard with respect by educated men all over the globe, with being 
incompetent to decide the slaughtering question a purely physio- 
logical question be it remembered, which could be dealt with by 
any medical man of proper scientific attainments ! 

In Saxony and Switzerland the Jewish, the best of all methods, 
has been, at the instance of sentimental laymen, declared barbarous 
and illegal. I should like to see the physician who could, 
without losing all respect for himself, attempt to justify this 
suppression and maintain that the Jewish method is really a 
barbarous one.* 

I myself cannot entertain any doubt that when a decision has 
been pronounced on the slaughtering question, not by single 
individuals, but by the medical and veterinary societies, it will 
not be long before the Jewish method is recognised on all hands as 
the best, and made obligatory everywhere. If either the method of 
stunning or slaughtering by the mask is really the most humane, 
then why is it not employed by Governments for the execution of 
criminals, with whom the method will have a much more sure 
result, the human skull being so much thinner ? Yet we see that 
the guillotine is employed for executions, a method of killing that 
much resembles the Jewish slaughtering method, but which has 
the drawback, as was proved above, of not being applicable, at 
least to large animals. When the Emperor Nero condemned his 
former teacher Seneca to death, allowing him to choose the form of 
death, which method of dying did the great philosopher and 
naturalist choose ? Did he choose to be felled with a club ? By 
no means. He bade them sever his arteries, wishing to bleed to 
death. And it is certain that Seneca was at least as humane 
towards himself as the animal protectors are towards their protegts. 

One merit, however, cannot be denied these agitators the 
merit of having awakened the public interest for this question 
when it had once been raised. And if the result of their efforts 
proves quite different to the one they had in view : when the Jewish 

* Unfortunately the grounds are not known on which the Commission in 
Saxony rested their judgment that the Jewish method is repugnant to humanity, 
and I cannot therefore deal with them here. All my efforts to obtain authentic 
information on this head were quite unsuccessful. 


method of slaughter, instead of being rejected and suppressed, 
shall have incontestably established before the tribunal of science 
its full, its exclusive, right to existence ; when the Government, in 
response to the behests of science, shall have taken adequate 
measures for the introduction of the Jewish method everywhere 
then will its present zealous opponents yet be able to reconcile 
themselves to the fact and to reflect with a certain satisfaction 
that they also, though unintentionally, have contributed something 
to this most desirable result. Those knights of humanity, however, 
whose sole object it is to deprive their Jewish fellow-citizens of 
their morsel of meat, will have to wait for the realisation of their 
hopes until such time as the circulation and pressure of the blood 
in an animal have been modified and until the skull of the ox 
changes so as to resemble man's. As long, however, as the thick- 
ness of the skull and the laws of the circulation of the blood in an 
ox have undergone no modification, the effort to find a method 
superior to that of rapid outflow of blood will be fruitless. The 
only hope which the opponents of sheclieta could still have 
cherished that of slaughtering by electricity has now vanished, 
since this method, apart from its spoiling the meat, has been 
proved to be anything but humane by the recent execution 

When, on examining the slaughtering question, it becomes 
apparent that each new invention, each new apparatus, has been 
fraught with fresh suffering to the animal for the shambles, 
then we may think of that saying in Home's " Aphorisms " : 

" When Pythagoras discovered his well-known theorem, his 
countrymen sacrificed a hecatomb (one hundred oxen) to the gods. 
Since then the oxen tremble whenever a new truth comes to light." 
In the present case it is the question of anything but the discovery 
of new truths, but the oxen have only so much the more reason to 
tremble when the "Animal Protectors" and opponents of the 
Jewish method " invent " a new method of slaughter. 

Printed by BALLANTYNE, HANSON & Co. 
London and Edinburgh 

University of California L| , y 
from which it was borrowed. 

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